SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1204 The Dark Net, by James R Riordon Book Review |

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The Dark Net, by James R Riordon
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Lulu
Published: 2007
Review Posted: 7/30/2008
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

The Dark Net, by James R Riordon

Book Review by Adam P. Knave

Have you read this book?

Where to start? I don't know. I'm sitting here and thinking and I have been chewing this review over for a while, to be honest. Here's the thing: The book isn't THAT bad. It isn't. However it is also self-published and I will need to address that later on. There are reasons. For serious. We'll get there.

First up let's look at the book itself. This is cookie-cutter modern post-Stephenson cyberpunk. It's nothing special, nothing at all. That's it, I am not trying to be mean here but the plot is so formula that the parts designed to make it stand out feel like "Things Done To Make This Try and Stand Out" and by God you can feel the caps in that sentence when you read the book.

Max is a lab flunky for a professor experimenting with A.I. stuff and things go squirrelly with a computer virus that can kill you and an A.I. that seems real and Gosh-Durnit Lookee! an A.I. penguin!

Damn it. There's nothing here. It's air.

To be fair, however, it isn't badly done for what it is. If you have never read anything in the genre before this would be a decent novel. Twisty and surprising. So there is that. The writing isn't bad, at all, and the construction, while rote, is at least solid for what it is. Except the shoe-horned Kirk/Spock slashfic discussion, that was forced and clumsy. But we all fall down sometimes.

This is where I'm torn. It's a perfectly fine construction but at the same time everything about it is tired and fairly lifeless. However here is where I get mad at the author. Mr. Riordon, if you are reading this I would truly appreciate it if you would answer this for me:

Why the hell did you self-publish this? It is easily good enough to have gotten published by a small press, and that way you gain some credibility. The crucial difference there is that having someone else publish it proves that someone else is willing to risk their money publishing your work. It speaks well of it, and opens doors. Self-publishing announces, right or wrong, that a work can not stand up and that the author doesn't truly believe in it or themselves enough to do the work of finding a publisher. It also means you might end up having someone who can actually design covers do yours. This package screams "Walk away" as it is. And that's a shame. Because while it is nothing special and I didn't really like it you have some talent at writing. So please, do the legwork and find a publisher. Stop self-publishing. Seriously, email me, we'll talk.

And that sums everything up I think. Don't bother with this one. But if you see Riordon's name again elsewhere, that someone else took a risk on him, try it. He isn't bad -- he just hasn't found his footing yet.
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