After Hours

Why I hate Amazon reviews

From Charles Stross (via BoingBoing): What do the public really think of literature?

The good Mr. Stross (my favorite contemporary science fiction author and a well known techno-cultural gadfly) has gone and cherry-picked the absolute worst Amazon reviews attached to great works of literature, illustrating that "customer-generated content" is only as good as the customer, which is another way of saying "you get what you pay for" when the customer provides your content for free. My favorites from Stross' list:

  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley:
    Ashley Lue wrote: "This was the worst book that I have ever read! The way that Huxley wrote the book was awful. He was writing about something that could never happen to our society. Back then he thought that our world would pretty much go to hell and the book portrayed the world that we should be living in today. Nothing that he said made sense. I don't understand why he would want anyone to live in that weird world that those people had to live in. People should have emotions and actual relationships. No one should be punished like that. I advise you not to read this book, unless you want to fall asleep!! :)"
  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare:
    Son of Sammy wrote: "i just read this book. everybody like always talks about how great it is and everything. but i don't think so. like, it's been done before, right?? soooo cliched. omg."
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck:
    Jef4Jesus wrote: "So, I'm only on page 478 of 619, but I've been disgusted at the amount of profanity. So far I've found more than 500 uses of profanity! On average every page (with relatively big writing, even) has more than one swear. Yikes! I'm never going to read Grapes of Wrath again, and won't be recommending it to anyone. If you don't like profanity, be careful."
    M. Landis wrote: "This book was 600 pages written purly about a bunch of hicks from Oklahoma starving. Thanks, but no thanks."

About Jay Garmon

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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