Ben Ryker’s Review Policy
Have you ever loved something and struggled to explain what it meant to you? Or, have you ever known someone that heaped praise on something that you just “didn’t get”?
That’s how I feel about reviews. For me, the line between fan and creator has always been a little blurry. I don’t want to be accused of sandbagging another artist.
That said, I started writing fiction because I couldn’t find enough of the kind of story I wanted to read.
Art will always be about perspective. I’ll be the first to tell you that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. I like some really weird stuff (Donnie Darko, anyone?).
So rather than becoming the voice of the audience, I’m going to try and highlight what makes the work I review unique and different. For better or for worse is up to you.
I’m not a critic, agent, or editor. I’m a reader first and then a writer. These reviews are not something I plan to do professionally. They’re a trailer for different types of storytelling.
If that helps you make a decision about whether to spend your time reading, listening, or watching something new in science fiction and fantasy… mission accomplished.
Full disclosure, all of my reviews will be either neutral or favorable. If you’re looking for negativity or criticism, you won’t find it. That’s not what I’m about.
A big name in the business world once said, “There are only two ways to build the tallest building in town. You build the tallest building… or you tear down all the other buildings.”
That always resonated with me. I’m very much about building the tallest building. My plan is to let someone else play the part of the troll.
I’m also going to keep reviews as spoiler free as possible. The goal is to save you time, not unravel the reading experience. No one wants to be that guy.
Speaking of which, I will also disclose if I (or anyone on the site) has connections with the work I’m reviewing. Keeps everything on record and above board.
As for the content itself, I’m going to be talking about things like:
- Premise & Concept
- Themes & Motif
- Structure & Plot
- Character & Dialogue
- Setting & Worldbuilding
- Market Fit & Positioning, and…
- Lookalike Recommendations
What I’m not going to talk about are things that one group or another might find offensive. The assumption is that you’re comfortable with an ESRB rating of T, TV-14, PG-13 or below. [link]
“Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.”
Anything above that will be given a content warning that is non-specific. I’m also not going to (over)emphasize story elements that run afoul of political correctness.
I’m not interested in carrying torches, and there are people better qualified to speak to those issues. For me and those reading, this will be purely about the narrative.
May you find something worthy of your To-Be-Read list. Good hunting.