Discussion:
The Unjustly Obscure
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James Nicoll
2017-04-10 16:34:11 UTC
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In another thread, someone questioned the significance of a certain
book because it had no reviews on Amazon. Not sure which book but one
explanation is it came out before Amazon and also tanked. Not all books
that fail to sell are bad books.

One unerappreciated recent book that comes to mind is Bad Magic by Stephan
Zielinski, a perfectly competent urban fantasy very few other people seem
to have liked. Although it is post-Amazon and probably has at least a few
reviews.
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Carl Fink
2017-04-10 18:39:07 UTC
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Post by James Nicoll
In another thread, someone questioned the significance of a certain
book because it had no reviews on Amazon. Not sure which book but one
explanation is it came out before Amazon and also tanked. Not all books
that fail to sell are bad books.
So you're saying that *The Great Gatsby* is pretty darn good, even if it
initially did not sell well (and had decidedly mixed reviews)?
Post by James Nicoll
One unerappreciated recent book that comes to mind is Bad Magic by Stephan
Zielinski, a perfectly competent urban fantasy very few other people seem
to have liked. Although it is post-Amazon and probably has at least a few
reviews.
Paul Edwin Zimmer is vastly underappreciated. I wish devoutly he had lived
long enough to write more of his fantasy epic.
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Carl Fink ***@nitpicking.com

Read my blog at blog.nitpicking.com. Reviews! Observations!
Stupid mistakes you can correct!
Anthony Nance
2017-04-10 18:37:41 UTC
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Post by James Nicoll
In another thread, someone questioned the significance of a certain
book because it had no reviews on Amazon. Not sure which book but one
explanation is it came out before Amazon and also tanked. Not all books
that fail to sell are bad books.
One unerappreciated recent book that comes to mind is Bad Magic by Stephan
Zielinski, a perfectly competent urban fantasy very few other people seem
to have liked. Although it is post-Amazon and probably has at least a few
reviews.
Agreed that Bad Magic is unjustly obscure.

This idea is also what led me to suggest Michaelmas (Budrys) and
Fellowship of the Talisman (Simak) in your "Non-binding..." thread.
Since the time frame is flexible here, I'll add Hard Landing by Budrys
as well.

Note: To me "obscure" overlaps greatly with what goes on in this group,
as it is my primary exposure what others think about SF.

Tony
Ahasuerus
2017-04-10 20:01:56 UTC
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On Monday, April 10, 2017 at 2:40:47 PM UTC-4, Anthony Nance wrote:
[snip]
Post by Anthony Nance
Note: To me "obscure" overlaps greatly with what goes on in this group,
as it is my primary exposure what others think about SF.
The overlap between this newsgroup's readers and the reading public at
large is ... sporadic. For example, Sherrilyn Kenyon has sold over 70
million books in over 100 countries
(http://us.macmillan.com/author/sherrilynkenyon%7C). OTOH, a search on
"Sherrilyn Kenyon" finds 13 r.a.sf.w. messages.
Anthony Nance
2017-04-10 23:20:13 UTC
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Post by Ahasuerus
[snip]
Post by Anthony Nance
Note: To me "obscure" overlaps greatly with what goes on in this group,
as it is my primary exposure what others think about SF.
The overlap between this newsgroup's readers and the reading public at
large is ... sporadic.
Oh yes - definitely. Hence my "Note", though I'm reasonably
confident Michaelmas, Hard Landing, and Fellowship of the
Talisman are unjustly obscure to both groups. :)

On the other hand, it serves me well - partly due to being here
so long, this group is a marvelous resource for pre-filtering
what I choose to read. I have no idea how long it would take
for Amazon and other sources to become as helpful or reliable;
or if it's even possible.

Toss in the extra perks of being here, and I don't have
much reason to check any where else.
Post by Ahasuerus
For example, Sherrilyn Kenyon has sold over 70
million books in over 100 countries
(http://us.macmillan.com/author/sherrilynkenyon%7C). OTOH, a search on
"Sherrilyn Kenyon" finds 13 r.a.sf.w. messages.
Excellent example. I would guess there are many others.
- Tony
Ahasuerus
2017-04-11 15:07:56 UTC
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On Monday, April 10, 2017 at 7:23:22 PM UTC-4, Anthony Nance wrote:
[snip-snip]
Post by Anthony Nance
On the other hand, it serves me well - partly due to being here
so long, this group is a marvelous resource for pre-filtering
what I choose to read. I have no idea how long it would take
for Amazon and other sources to become as helpful or reliable;
or if it's even possible.
True, finding reviewers whose tastes are similar to yours can be
time-consuming. Participating in a community like r.a.sf.w. whose
contributors have been around for years and sometimes decades makes
it easier to find them.

OTOH, many r.a.sf.w. regulars from the 1990s and 2000s have dropped
out (or become occasional guests) in the 2010s and haven't been replaced.
Once you kill-file the trolls, the off-topic stuff, etc, there isn't
a whole lot left.
Anthony Nance
2017-04-12 16:41:09 UTC
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Post by Ahasuerus
[snip-snip]
Post by Anthony Nance
On the other hand, it serves me well - partly due to being here
so long, this group is a marvelous resource for pre-filtering
what I choose to read. I have no idea how long it would take
for Amazon and other sources to become as helpful or reliable;
or if it's even possible.
True, finding reviewers whose tastes are similar to yours can be
time-consuming. Participating in a community like r.a.sf.w. whose
contributors have been around for years and sometimes decades makes
it easier to find them.
Yep - even further (in my case, here), it's more about calibration.
A reviewer/participant doesn't have to have similar tastes, just
consistent ones.

Also, mere exposure to titles/authors here can be helpful to me,
even without reviews.
Post by Ahasuerus
OTOH, many r.a.sf.w. regulars from the 1990s and 2000s have dropped
out (or become occasional guests) in the 2010s and haven't been replaced.
Once you kill-file the trolls, the off-topic stuff, etc, there isn't
a whole lot left.
Indeed, there are fewer voices, and (seemingly) proportionally
more noise, but I still find a lot of signal, including some
of the off-topic stuff.

Tony
Gene Wirchenko
2017-04-11 23:36:02 UTC
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Post by James Nicoll
In another thread, someone questioned the significance of a certain
book because it had no reviews on Amazon. Not sure which book but one
explanation is it came out before Amazon and also tanked. Not all books
that fail to sell are bad books.
True, but how can such a book be a *core* book?
Post by James Nicoll
One unerappreciated recent book that comes to mind is Bad Magic by Stephan
Zielinski, a perfectly competent urban fantasy very few other people seem
to have liked. Although it is post-Amazon and probably has at least a few
reviews.
A list of unjustly obscure or underappreciated books could be
interesting, but call it what it is.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
h***@gmail.com
2017-04-11 23:45:01 UTC
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Post by Gene Wirchenko
Post by James Nicoll
In another thread, someone questioned the significance of a certain
book because it had no reviews on Amazon. Not sure which book but one
explanation is it came out before Amazon and also tanked. Not all books
that fail to sell are bad books.
True, but how can such a book be a *core* book?
Because it inspired a movement?
(there was an early punk rock gig in the UK where around 100 people attended and 5 or 6 of the main punk bands were inspired to start by that gig)
Because it's just that good?
(Bridge of Birds wasn't exactly a best seller)
Chris Buckley
2017-04-12 02:08:59 UTC
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Post by h***@gmail.com
Post by Gene Wirchenko
Post by James Nicoll
In another thread, someone questioned the significance of a certain
book because it had no reviews on Amazon. Not sure which book but one
explanation is it came out before Amazon and also tanked. Not all books
that fail to sell are bad books.
True, but how can such a book be a *core* book?
Because it inspired a movement?
(there was an early punk rock gig in the UK where around 100 people attended and 5 or 6 of the main punk bands were inspired to start by that gig)
Because it's just that good?
(Bridge of Birds wasn't exactly a best seller)
But _A Voice out of Ramah_ by Lee Killough didn't inspire a movement
and is one book in the original list that has no reviews on
Amazon. According to James, if you're a true fan of SF, you should
have that "core" book on your shelf. James, what is your definition
of true fan?

I'm not sure about the comment of _Bridge of Birds_? It has hundreds
of Amazon reviews.

Chris
David DeLaney
2017-04-14 04:31:05 UTC
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Post by James Nicoll
One unerappreciated recent book that comes to mind is Bad Magic by Stephan
Zielinski, a perfectly competent urban fantasy very few other people seem
to have liked. Although it is post-Amazon and probably has at least a few
reviews.
I liked it. I bought it in hardback.

Being acquainted with the author did not, in fact, make me afraid to read it.

Dave, tinc
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