Monday, January 24, 2011

Web Serials...are they worth it?

Good evening constant reader.

I was approached by an author who inquired as to whether or not I'd be interested in reviewing a web serial for The Written Universe.  I took a look at her web page and one belonging to a friend who was also a web serialist, and said, yes, I'd do reviews of both.

I will be completely honest.  Trying to read the stories were like the labours of Hercules. 
Not because they were poorly written or uninteresting.  For me, it was the medium in which they were presented.  That was my own personal hindrance to enjoying them.  Reading a little, then trying to find where I had left off from the last time, writing it down if I forgot, losing the piece of paper with that information;  scrolling, endlessly scrolling down the page; and being stuck to my computer screen, with no way to really "take it with me".  All these factors added up to a bad reading experience.
(My other bias is pdf files, but that's what an e-reader is for).

Were the stories any good?
For the most part.
Are web serials viable for readers?
Possibly.  It depends on what kind of reader you are, if you prefer mobility in your reading, if you can hack sitting behind a computer screen for extended periods of time to read.
These things need to be taken into account before staring a web serial.

Are web serials a good way for a writer to get noticed?
But you're going to have to watch your length and make sure your story moves along.  If you spend too much time establishing a character or describing a location or an action, you're going to bog it down so your reader is falling asleep in front of their computer.

No, web serials are not for me.
I prefer my books in book form for portability, for the ease of marking my place, for being able to go sit in a comfy chair and read.

Here are the authors and their websites for your perusal.

Candace McBride's Tattoo

Candace's site offers her original web serial, Tattoo, as well as a host of other related writings.

Zoe Whitten

Zoe Whitten's site offers not only ebooks to read for free online, but also information on where to obtain her printed works.

Give them a look constant reader and decide for yourself.  You might not have the problems I did and may find jewels you never thought possible.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: From Time to Time

From Time To Time
Marius Smith
Available through,
Barnes and Noble on line and Amazon.

In a nutshell, this is the first book I've reviewed which has had the misfortune of failing my "By page 50 test".  If while reading a book, I make it to page 50 and if the characters were to die in a fiery car crash and I don't care, then the book is set aside and I don't continue reading.  From Time To Time is one of those rare books, and I gave it to page 100 before giving up.

The story is of William Herschel, who in the far future is a member of Temporal Security, whose job it is to police time travel in the 26th century.  William is also a vampire, made such by medical science in order to save his life.  William has apparently stumbled on something he shouldn't have, is framed and is exiled for drug possession and sentenced to exile in ancient Egypt.  He knows he's been framed, his friends know it and they set about to try to prove his innocence.

Marius Smith can string words together, that much is certain, and the plot premise is interesting.  However, it's apparent Mr. Smith never read Strunk and White, therefore missing the advice, "Omit needless words."  I made it to page 100, and it was a chore. But you said it failed your page 50 test, right?  Yes, it did, but I was trying to be charitable. I've read a lot of books in my time, but I have never been less compelled to pick up a book and read.  None of the characters had distinct voices.  About as close to that as we came, were all the good guys sounded one way and the bad guys sounded another.  Nothing else distinguished them.  I also ran into my other pet peeve - repeating the same information more than once.  Most readers are smart enough to embrace concepts the first time around and don't need to be beaten over the head over and over with the same information every chapter.
The book also suffers from a glaring lack of editing.  Another thing that pestered me was a lack of page numbers.  This is an error on the publishers part and to me says one word: sloppy.

I cannot in good faith recommend this book