If you have a reasonably full life, from time to time you have to look a temptation in the face and say “no”. For example Tor.com.
It’s seductive — overly so. They feature fiendishly-clever “rewatch” (e.g. Deep Space Nine, which every discerning person knows is the only Star Trek series that matters) and “reread” series (currently including Zelazny’s Amber).
And of course, they sell books. With thoughtful, appreciative, beautifully-written essay-length appreciations. Which is to say, with fiendish effectiveness. And since it’s so easy to buy ’em these days, I did, a couple of times.
For example, Living With Ghosts by Kari Sperring, of whom I know nothing. It has charms, in particular the characters’ names: Gracielis, Thiercelin, Yvelliane, Amalie, Miraude, Quenfrida, Joyain, Urien, Valdarrien, Iareth. Gotta love those. And I finished it, all 496 pages. Many will like it; there’s loads of intrigue and anguish and statecraft and sorcery, against technicolor backdrops. But for me, the players were too obviously pushed round the stage by authorial whim; the outcomes felt neither inevitable nor surprising and I want at least one of the two.
[Update: The author tweets that the book is published by DAW not Tor. Oops, sorry.]
But worse than that: The for-Kindle typesetting and production is atrociously amateurish. This is a multi-POV book and one gathers that on the page there are white-space gaps alerting you of the leap from one stream of consciousness to the next. Not here. On top of which are outright botches; sentences with all the words run together, weird line-breaks. Shoddy, shoddy work.
So I have to ask: What is a publisher for, if at the end of the day they can’t freaking well publish a book competently?
Anyhow, I unsubscribed from Tor’s feed, to save time and dodge temptation. But I bet a lot of people here who read this would really enjoy it.