Sunday, January 21, 2007

About the ratings

This site uses a simple system of stars to help readers quickly place a work of fiction under review onto a continuum of fantasy works. Of course this is all quite subject to our own opinions and we pretend nothing beyond a consensus of subjectivity.

The five-star system attempts to measure a work's ability to integrate the major elements that comprise the greatest of all fantastic works: artistic vision, beautiful execution in terms of style and language, effective characters, dialogue and plotting, inventiveness, and a host of other intangibles. Here is an attempt to outline the requirements for each work:

  • One star: Not recommended, don't even bother with a library copy. No redeeming features that merit time spent reading it, or features that are so bad they overshadow and recolor any otherwise redeeming features.
  • Two stars: Not recommended. If you are intrigued by features of the story, go pick up a copy at the library and give it forty pages to convince you otherwise.
  • Three stars: Recommended. Get this at the library, there is plenty to enjoy. Something's missing though: bland or poor use of language; cheesy or pathworn imagery; flat characters; wallows pointlessly in immorality or preachy-ness; foggy or lukewarm in terms of its vision.
  • Four stars: Highly recommended. You probably need to own a copy of this one. Close to the top, the best of its kind. The only thing keeping it from the very top is its "reach", a lack of impact on culture or the collective imagination.
  • Five stars: Highly recommended. This is the best of the best, crying out for a special place on your bookshelf. Get yourself a good copy that will withstand numerous re-readings. This is a place reserved for the classics, for the visionary works who create a genre, and for artistic genius that leaves the reader unsettled and changed in powerful ways.

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