Strange Horizons

Wow, lots of blood spilt over this review, this reaction (supported here, the author himself reacting somewhat more mildly) and the reviewer’s defence. I’m simply baffled by the fuss: I don’t understand how anyone could have taken Morrison’s speculation that reviewers are bribed to lie as anything other than hyperbole. If there have been muttered accusations round the blogosphere, or any part of fandom, to this effect then I missed them completely.

Anyway, that’s beside the point I wanted to make, which is to respond to Nick Mamatas’ renewed attack on Strange Horizons and its review policy, as personified by . (To whom, Happy Birthday!) To declare my own exposure here, I have had three reviews published on Strange Horizons myself, with a fourth in the works; which represents roughly 1% of all the books I have reviewed on-line. I have not been paid for any of them (indeed, did not even get review copies for all of them).

I have to say that my experience of Strange Horizons’ editing process is that they are more thorough than any other on-line publication outfit I have been associated with, with the sole exception of my own current employers. Deadlines are serious; feedback is meticulous and timely; and thought is given to which reviews are published when. So in terms of the mechanics of the reviewing process, and given that few of the reviewers are being paid (despite rumours to the contrary), I give them pretty close to top marks for professionalism and for effort in editing.

As for content: it seems to me that the criticisms I’ve seen directed at Strange Horizons’ reviews are on the whole not very substantial. I wrote about this before, but just to condense the argument: I am not sure where those who want to see better reviews are going to find them, and from reading their complaints I don’t have a good idea of what they are looking for in a review anyway. I like the fact that Strange Horizons encourages its reviewrs to write entertainingly, even if this means they sometimes raise hackles – indeed, especially if this means they sometimes raise hackles.

I subscribe to , and suggest that you do so too, if you haven’t already.

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