So, following all that kerfuffle last week, I thought I’d mention the reviewers who I read on a regular basis and who inform my book-buying.
I’ll go out on a limb here and say that David Hebblethwaite is the best reviewer on the interwebs.* Although he has a genre background, he often reviews literary novels that have a genre sensibility but don’t actually live in the ghetto. This post here gives you a feel for his eclectic, left of fields tastes. Basically, if David recommends the novel I’m more than likely to buy it – which I grant is an expensive habit but potentially a fulfilling one.**
Next on my list would be Martin Lewis’ blog Everything Is Nice. I’ve spoken lovingly about Martin here, especially his ability to eviscerate a short story, a number examples of which you can find in this section of his blog.
One of the best things about the sadly departed Salon Futura is that Cheryl Morgan, who also edited the online magazine, had a column where she would review a number of novels.*** Since the closure of Salon Futura, Cheryl has thankfully been publishing more reviews on her blog.**** And when she’s not posting reviews, her blog is a good resource for news, rants and Hugo-related information.
Adam Roberts’ Punkadiddle site is all genius, and to be frank he deserves some sort of award (BSFA, Hugo, whatever) for this series of in-depth (and often hilarious) reviews on the all time top ten best-selling books (that don’t include the Bible).
I often think that Abigail Nussbaum, reviews editor for Strange Horizons, is someone whose very hard to please as she often seems to strongly dislike the books, short stories and TV she consumes. But that’s really just a shallow, knee jerk response to her critical take on the genre. In fact, when it comes to giving short stories, novels and TV shows***** a kick in the groin, her thoughts are always well reasoned and supported by evidence. Her earlier reviews on Strange Horizons – which she lists on a page in her blog – are also worth checking out.
I’ve already spoken about Requires Only That You Hate here. I gather she’s an acquired taste for some people, but I think acrackedmoon is awesome in how she makes me question my privilege and how gender bias and the appropriation of other cultures is still rife in genre fiction (even in places where you wouldn’t expect). She’s also more than happy to name and shame those authors and fans who will scream to the rafters defending their prejudices. Yes, it would be nice if all reviewers would be civil, polite and never made it personal. But fuck that, when it comes to the issues that acrackedmoom raises, civil and polite left the building a long time ago.
I also enjoy the reviews of the Hornswoggler – Mr Andrew Wheeler. They’re often nice and short and state a clear opinion without necessarily delving too much into spoiler territory.
Oh… and I also need to mention Cat Valente who doesn’t review so much anymore but is brilliant when she does.
*Which, to be fair, is a subjective claim that I can’t support with any evidence.
** OK, OK, I haven’t actually read many of the books David’s recommended. They might all be shit. But I doubt it… because like me he loves Rob Shearman.
*** Cheryl also wrote plenty of reviews when she was publishing Emerald City.
***** Actually her review of the second season of Sherlock isn’t entirely negative.