Being a fan of author Jack McDevitt, I was pleased to discover that I hadn’t picked up his two latest books, Starhawk and Coming Home. The former is his latest in the Priscilla Hutchins novels, while the latter is the latest of his Alex Benedict stories. I’d planned on doing a review of the books once I was done with them; but now that I am done, I’ve had second thoughts.
It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the novels. Yes, reading Starhawk threw me, because after six Priscilla Hutchins novels, McDevitt decided to write one about Hutch’s beginnings as a star pilot; and maybe because of that, the story didn’t seem to me to have any real stakes to it. And Coming Home, though it made me emotional in all the right places, seemed to have an oddly subdued tone, with the literary equivalent of the fourth wall being broken when Chase Kolpath told Alex Benedict that she was writing memoirs of their adventures… then threw an obvious bone at itself, when Chase found one of the rare books that had survived from our present era… and it happened to be a Priscilla Hutchins novel. So, maybe those issues distracted me from enjoying the books objectively enough to provide a review.
On the other hand, I’ve been trying to step up my promotion efforts for my own books, and having zero success… and that is beginning to color my judgement (specifically, a deep shade of black). I’ve become severely frustrated by the fact that I can’t get anyone to review my books, either at the sales sites or websites devoted to science fiction. I have been actively reconsidering my dedication to writing, even to leaving my books available for sale at all, and casting about for new ways to occupy my free time (right now, internet porn collecting is high on my admittedly short list).
And suddenly, I remembered the old adage: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” And a little voice wanted to add a third line, to wit: “Those who can’t teach, review.”
So maybe it’s just because I’m in a lousy mood when it comes to science fiction right now, but I can’t help but feel like anything I might say about someone else’s novels—especially a successful published author’s novels—would only amount to sour grapes, meanly poking at the champion on his pedestal in the hope of revealing feet of clay to the world… and in doing so, somehow convince a non-existent audience that maybe I should be on that pedestal instead, with my nice, solid feet and my undiscovered genius…
Anyway, I find that I can’t say anything about the books of one of my favorite authors, without their being an unintentional taint in there. So, no review from me. In fact, I guess I won’t be writing any more reviews of any novels, big-published or independent, favorite or popular, good or bad.
But that’s okay: If there’s one thing this world is full of, it’s people with opinions.