Robert Kroese and other deep thoughts

He’s not a deep thought, maaannn, he’s a human being. Who writes books, good books. I have to admit Kroese got me through some really tough times with his science fiction, humor, and weird intellectual ideas. And he wasn’t a long-dead author, either. I could follow him on Twitter, when I found the fortitude to be on there. Quite literally, he brought me back to reading as my soul was being squeezed by the usual life garbage. When a friend committed suicide, and I hid by the utility sink at work to cry, I could go home later and read Kroese. When I hated my job, and I couldn’t sleep to save my life, I could while away the time with Kroese. When my dad was diagnosed with lymphoma, I gifted him with some Kroese books because he was bored and lacked energy from chemo. I wanted to share with my dad the books that had brought me joy.

Recently, I finished one of his older books, Shrodinger’s Gat, and I was a little taken aback by the poor editing. I didn’t mind the book; it was definitely a brave foray into fiction-with-exposition. But the editing was awful. I almost gave it a 3-star rating. I stopped myself. It had been a while since I had reviewed one of his books. Amazon doesn’t look kindly on mega-fans who review too many of an author’s books. It also doesn’t approve of authors of the same or similar genre doing book reviews. I decided to take a look at my reviews of his other books, but Amazon had unfortunately culled most of them. I think there were two left — why those two, I have no idea.

There’s no way I’m giving any of his books less than stellar ratings now.* I had this conversation over at Amatopia not that long ago. Reviewing books can be tricky. Not only does Amazon think authors-reviewing-authors is dubious, so do readers in general. There’s a reason why I don’t review many books, and being burnt-out is only part of it. But Amazon’s removing my reviews is a good way to get my hackles up, too. I mean, I’m not even a successful author. I’m first and foremost a reader. So what if Amazon and a bunch of no-nothings think my reviews are fake? Let them! I’m going to go give Kroese a good rating and let it sit there until the idiotic, soulless beasts of the internet corporate algorithms find it and delete it. Or maybe they won’t this time. One can only hope.

Does a bang precede a whimper, or is it the other way around?

*To be fair, all his books are worth 4-5 stars; this is the first one I was tempted to rate lower due to a lack of editing diligence.



  1. “So what if Amazon and a bunch of no-nothings think my reviews are fake?”

    I have my reservations about Amazon reviews. Too many self-pubbed or lower-market books have tons of 5 star reviews. There’s no way all those books can be the best of all time, can it?

    1. I tend to give a book 5 stars if I can’t put it down, if I’m supposed to be doing a gazillion other things on a Saturday, but instead spend 5 hrs reading a book cover to cover. That doesn’t mean it’s great literature, only that it carried my away.

      I do know what you mean, though. There is one self-pubbed author who is pretty decent, but who has managed to amass the cult-like following that gives 5 stars in lockstep to male authors of “pulp rev” or “conservative SF” or whatever you want to call it. His debut was a good, but not great book I had a hard time getting into. I’d give it 4 stars.

      Btw, I noticed Amazon culled almost all of my 5 star ratings on books I liked. They apparently think they’re all fake.

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