Sunday, April 08, 2007

Alternative Worlds' review of Acacia

Harriet Klausner, reviewer extraordinaire (although something of controversial figure as well, as I mention below), has posted a review of Acacia on the Alternative Worlds website. You can read the full review there. Among other things, though, she wrote...

This is a terrific epic... The story line is action-packed and key players seem genuine, but the reason the audience will want to visit David Anthony Durham's world is Acacia and to a lesser degree its neighbors like Mein, as these realms are so vividly described...

The controversy part is that she's such an incredibly prolific reviewer that some claim she just can't be for real, can't be one person, and that she/they must be on somebody's payroll. She's the Number 1 reviewer on Amazon.com, and if her name is familiar that's probably the reason. She does write an enormous number of reviews, and most of them are quite positive. I asked my publishing contacts what they thought and they all said they're going on the assumption that she is real, with the caveat that she'd have to be pretty strange as well.

This answer won't satisfy her detractors, though. Seems like there's a body of disgruntled um... well, Amazon-review-reader-police who've taken to following every review she writes, going to it and marking it as unhelpful and posting comments attacking her/them/it. They raise questions that are hard to ignore, but I'm scunnered as to just what to make of the whole thing.

But, anyway, the review was positive. And like it or not it's getting spread throughout the cyber world...

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Drew said...

David,

Hey, I remember a few years back I snagged a copy of the magazine "Pages" or maybe it was something with, "book" in it, anyways, there was an article about people who read like two books a day. It had a picture of this woman in the magazine. Said she read like two, three books a day.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Scott Oden said...

I've always wondered about Harriet Klausner. I've heard she's a librarian who literally does nothing but read, that she's a speed-reader who reads multiple books at once, but who's to say what's true and what isn't? She's definitely ubiquitous.

Congrats on receiving more good reviews!

12:23 AM  
Blogger Joe Sherry said...

Amazon has a different issue in terms of negatives (which is actually "Not Helpful" rather than "Negative", so it is very subjective)...it seems like folks just pop on, give others "NH" votes and leave no matter how "helpful" or not a review might be.

Harriet Klausner is controversial not so much because of how prolific she is (though in part), but also because her reviews have appeared to consist of little more than can be gleamed from the book jacket and in some cases no more understanding of the book than the book jacket.

Not saying my reviews are inherently better, but I have seen on the Amazon message boards folks point out specific reviews where HK would say something that is factually incorrect regarding an event from the novel.

11:26 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

The issue of the quality and/or accuracy of the reviews has some substance. I've noticed that the Klausner reviews have a consistent format. It's almost like they're generated by a computer program...

12:56 PM  

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