Parallel Thinking is a Bitch

I have a long, rambling, stream-of-consciousness list of story ideas that I keep in a plain text file. I jot down the premises as I have them, and whenever my brain wanders back to fill out the details, I take those down, too. When I have enough content put down under one of those ideas — when it becomes clear this is something my mind doesn’t plan on letting go — I get serious, and I start thinking of how I would write it. Here is one of those ideas, presented exactly as I wrote it down in one feverish five minute burst. Now, you can see how short this is: This idea was obviously in its infancy. I didn’t get far enough into it to plan how I would write it or anything, but I was thinking it would work well as a weekly TV show. I don’t watch much modern broadcast TV. I don’t have cable, or even an antenna. I watch a hell of a lot of Netflix, but I’m pretty oblivious as to what kind of thing is actually on the air these days. Still, it seemed like weekly hour-long drama would be a good fit. Here’s the premise:

Based around the Nautilus, the program that compiles news information about the past and predicts events. Largely based on ‘tone’ – positive and negative words in stories. predicted loosely Bin Laden’s location (200kilometers) and the arab spring. got as specific as pinpointing that tunisia was the lynchpin in the revolts, specifically after the coptic(?) church bombing. What if you could feed it everything – movies, books, twitter feeds and facebook profiles, news stories, sure, but all personal media. What if it was more powerful, and used for the immediate future. There would be a team based around this program, trying to prevent some much larger, terrible future one event at a time. A complex web of attitude and predictions – sometimes stomping out dangerous media, sometimes augmenting good media, spreading books or burning down sets, as well as taking out key figures and negotiating peace treaties. They would be torn, questioning, the thing would be like a god. They would treat it with some degree of faith and doubt, like paladins, crusaders of AI.

Kind of a modern day spin on Minority Report, but revolving around extrapolating data from the zeitgeist itself to predict not only crimes, but media events that would shape the public’s consciousness and alter the overall path of the future. Could have been neat

…and here is the Wikipedia synopsis for Person of Interest, a CBS show that apparently fucking everybody and their grandmothers (this is CBS, after all) has been watching for years.

Finch explains that after September 11, 2001, he built a computer system for the government that uses information gleaned from omnipresent surveillance to predict future terrorist attacks. However, Finch discovered that the computer was predicting ordinary crimes as well. The government is not interested in these results, but Finch is determined to stop the predicted crimes. He hires Reese to conduct surveillance and intervene as needed, using his repertoire of skills gained in the military and the CIA. Through a backdoor built into the system, Finch receives the Social Security number of someone who will be involved in an imminent crime, at which point he contacts Reese. Without knowing what the crime will be, when it will occur, or even if the person they were alerted to is a victim or perpetrator, Reese and Finch must try to stop the crime from occurring.

So I damn near accidentally wrote a CBS drama. I expect my hypothetical royalty checks in the Potential Mailbox any day now.

I’m Apparently Going to Unnotice Your Ass

 

TOR GETS ‘UNNOTICED’ BY ROBERT BROCKWAY

In a second deal coming out of Tor this week, Paul Stevens bought Robert Brockway’s The Unnoticeables, at auction, in a three-book, six-figure deal. Brockway, who is a senior editor and columnist for Cracked.com, was represented by Sam Morgan at Jabberwocky Literary. The other two books acquired will be sequels to The Unnoticeables, and are currently untitled. Tor said the books are “hilarious urban fantasy novels” set in a world that pulls from New York’s punk scene in the 1970s as well as the modern-day Los Angeles entertainment industry. The Unnoticeables is tentatively scheduled for July 2015.

That’s right – THREE god damn books coming your way. I am going to literally crush you with an avalanche of my books*.

*Provided you are very small, and do not struggle too much.

On Digital Books and Piracy

When I started releasing Rx back in the serial novel days, one of the questions I was asked the most was my opinion on my piracy. My best and most elegant answer was:

“Please don’t?”

I’ve recently stumbled across this quote by Neil Gaiman on the matter, and it is both more elegant and more best than my own efforts:

“We don’t normally find the people we love most by buying them. We encounter them, we discover that we love them, which is why I decided early on I was never going to go to war [on piracy], I was just going to encourage, I was going to go for word of mouth.”

This phrasing is much better than my own simpler, stupider request in the sense that “please don’t” makes you think I’m wholly against piracy. When in fact, I never actively discourage it. I can’t say I’m die-hard in favor of piracy either — you should absolutely pay your preferred creators in exchange for their hard work, or else this whole damn thing falls apart and we have to get real jobs with pants and everything. But when it comes down to it, it’s not much different than a library. One way or another, you can (and always could) get most books for free. How can I rail against piracy then, when I discovered most of my favorite authors at a library? I wouldn’t have found them just visiting book stores. I never would have taken the chance on them if it cost me $15 a pop to do so. I pay for all of my favorite author’s books now, of course, but that initial discovery process needed to be free.

It’s hard enough to justify the time required to take a chance on a new artist (reading a book can take up to 20 hours, depending on length – that’s a serious commitment in this age of fierce media competition; that’s two video games; ten movies; a whole season of a TV show) — if you asked me for a significant upfront fee just to take that chance as well? No. As a reader, why would you take that risk? You can always revisit your favorites instead. They’re safer bets. You could buy a new book from an author you already love, or better yet, reread something you already have – that’s free! Like it or not, the natural inclination of most human beings is to tread safe water, and that impulse is both boring and ultimately unfulfilling to the reader, as well as financially disastrous for any but the most established authors. If you want people to take a chance on you, you have to make taking a chance easy

Piracy is almost a necessity these days, because we haven’t quite worked out how digital books should function yet. You can’t “lend” digital books like you would a physical one (at least, not without severe limitations). You can’t give them away permanently at all, and setting up artificial hurdles in libraries — like limited amounts of digital copies and forced wait times — just leads to frustration. I have Google alerts set up for the titles of my books, and I see torrents pop up there all the time. I have never and will never take action against them. Yet I still say “please don’t,” when talking about piracy. If only because you’re risking a virus. Don’t do that. Just email me and I’ll send you a copy. It takes me ten seconds. It’s nothing, and you will not nearly be the first person to ask – I must have sent out a hundred copies to people who didn’t want to (or in most cases, physically could not) pay for my book. It’s fine. There’s no shame in it. I spent the first half of my 20s living paycheck to paycheck myself. Weekly library trips were the only means I ever acquired entertainment that didn’t involve spinning around until I fell over.

I only ask that, if you like one of my books, you tell your friends about it and try to buy the next one. That’s the same deal authors have always had with readers, and that doesn’t need to change with the digital age. But please do remember to support authors, artists and other creators whose work you already know you enjoy – we really, seriously and severely do not want to put on pants.

 

Everything was better before.

Maybe once a week somebody will tell me that my work was way better a few years ago. And then I think back a few years, when somebody else was telling me that my work was better a few years ago. That leaves me with three possible explanations.

First: I’m getting progressively worse, but my initial work was so amazing that, even after years of denigration, it’s still drawing in new fans who think this watered down crap is the best thing they’ve ever seen. The first column I ever wrote was about how science hates your penis. I don’t think this is the correct answer.

Second: Evolution and growth can sometimes be alienating. People’s tastes slowly change, and what appealed to them once will not appeal to them forever. It’s why you don’t still play with your Cowboys of Moo Mesa action figures. Plus, all creators will (hopefully) develop over time. What they do next year may not appeal to last year’s fans. If it was otherwise, they would just be endlessly repeating themselves. And what’s the point of that?

It’s one of the sadder aspects of reality, but you may not always love the things you love now. When that time comes, you shouldn’t flip the table and scream yourself bloody, accusing everything around you of turning into bullshit. You don’t need to smash all your toys with a hammer when you outgrow them. You can just gracefully move on to what does make you happy, and try to remember all the value that thing once gave you. You can get into music, or cars, or girls, and forget all about those childish things that used to mean the world to you. Maybe one day, when you’re older, you’ll be up in a dusty attic somewhere and you’ll open a box. And you’ll say with a smile: “There you are Marshal Moo Montana – I wondered what happened to you.”

Third: You’re an asshole.

A Blinking Cursor

A blank page. An empty canvas. A blinking cursor in a brand new Word doc.

I sit here staring at it.

I spend a large chunk of my life, just staring at that intermittent line. Hating it. Cursing it. Somehow — and don’t ask me to explain any further because I know it’s wholly irrational — but somehow, that cursor blinks at the exact frequency of mockery.

Fuck. Blink. You. Blink. Fuck. Blink. You. Blink.

I know how to overcome it. I do it professionally, I beat the cursor for a living. But that doesn’t mean the feeling goes away. It’s the infinite terror of potential. Opportunity is the scariest thing in the world.

Ever try to figure out a restaurant with your significant other, only to wind up in an argument? It’s so easy, so trivial – we could go anywhere, everywhere – what do you feel like ingesting right now so that your body will continue to work for another day or two, you son of a bitch?! Tell me! But you don’t have a suggestion. Neither do they.

That’s the only reason Applebee’s exists.

What do you want for your birthday? Easy answer, when you’re a kid. Your experience is limited, so your desires are limited. You understand candy and Legos, so you ask for candy and Legos and hopefully you get either candy or Legos….unless your parents hate you and buy you socks.

But now you’re an adult. Your experience is wide, your desires are vast. And somebody asks you: What do you want for your birthday?

You freeze up.

You can visit anywhere in the world. Right now. Where do you go first? You answered that one quickly. But then, you don’t travel as much as you’d like, and you’ve been waiting for this moment. Now, what’s your second destination? Hey, that was pretty fast, too. Your third choice? What about your twentieth? If you could visit any of the millions of locations on this planet, what is the thirty-fifth place you’d go? It’s such a big world, and thirty-five isn’t that great a number. Surely, you haven’t run out of ideas yet…

But you know what was nice? Paris. Let’s go back.

I can’t think of a restaurant. Let’s just do Applebee’s again.

It’s easier to be a tourist than a local. Give us limitless choice, and we are paralyzed by potentiality. This is the problem with being a creator: A painter, a musician, a writer – it doesn’t matter what the medium is — If you make something, you always start with nothing. You begin with empty hands. You’re staring at a billion potential paths, each one a twisting line rendered in a different color. Do you follow the blue? The green? The pink looks pretty today. But there are so many colors, so many paths, and they wander so wildly. Look how they overlap: The lines criss and cross and back again and you realize that every color taken together leaves you with white.

A blank page. An empty canvas. A blinking cursor in a brand new Word doc.

That bastard cursor, and its bastard blinking.

Do you have the final version of Rx?

Just a quick update to make sure everybody has the right version of Rx: A Tale of Electronegativity, as I still come across new reviews or comments from people who are just now finishing the serial. The serial was never intended to be the final product, so if you want to read the actual book that the serial helped produce, you’ll need an update.

For those of you not familiar with the saga of writing Rx, here’s the extremely succinct version: This whole thing was totally fucked.

Here’s the slightly longer version: I tried something that I thought was a good idea, but turned out to be more hassle than it was worth.

Here’s the extremely long version: Rx was my first book, and I didn’t have any experience with the process, much less the kind of effective beta readers that are pretty vital for a successful manuscript. Since digital distribution and serials were just starting to get popular, I thought I’d take advantage of it and try something new. I wrote Rx in three parts, and released each as an entry in a serial novel. The catch being that I ran quite a few giveaways of the first episode, and offered feedback incentives for the next episodes. So you could snag the first episode for free, then leave me some helpful feedback, and I would get you the second episode for free when it came out. If you left feedback on that, you got the third for free.In effect, if you wanted to help me improve the book, you could get whole thing without spending a time. And if you just wanted to participate in the experiment — watch it unfold without contributing — you could pay as you went, per installment and never be out more than a few bucks.

If you’re wondering why you, as a reader, never got that opportunity, the reason is simple: I never thought Rx would go beyond a very small group of loyal fans. At least not at the serial stage. I thought everybody who read the episodes would only do so because they heard about it through my columns or my social media accounts — in which case they’d see my many explanatory updates about the experiment and get the chance to participate. But the book got away from its little niche, thanks in large part to positive word of mouth. That’s a hard thing to be upset about.

But I am sorry to those who paid for and read an unrefined product, unaware of the experiment and thinking it was supposed to be a polished story. I don’t have anything to say if you bought the full book and didn’t like it – it had it’s problems and that’s your right. Maybe we’ll connect better next time. But if you just read the serial, or one of the early versions (here’s a spoiler-free way to tell: if your book has a prologue, it’s not the final version. If it doesn’t have an epilogue, it’s not the final version.) you can message me at rxthebook at gmail dot com and I’ll send a final eBook copy your way. There are substantial changes from the early versions, most notably an entirely different ending and that aforementioned epilogue.

I can’t really apologize for writing Rx this way – the book isn’t perfect, but it’s better than it would have been if I hadn’t tried this release schedule and received this feedback. And I can’t even call it a failed experiment, because it was actually worthwhile for me as a writer — if only because I learned not to ever do something like this again. Conventional release schedules for this guy from now on. But it honestly never occurred to me that people would be stumbling across obscure, self-published serial novel cyberpunk eBooks from first time authors and just jumping right into them with complete trust. I mean, holy shit, what kind of free time do you have? I can’t even promise to read all of the DANGER: POISON labels on the back of my cleaning products. God bless you for your willingness to try new things – you’re keeping indie authors going – but you ended up being collateral damage for my stupid experiment. You at least deserve to see the final product. Hit me up.

Why are Writers Such Irredeemable Bastards?

I am not an innately good person.

But that’s okay, because I think that might be why I’m a good storyteller. Or, somewhat less arrogantly, I think that might be why I want to be a good storyteller. My intrinsic shittiness as a human being might be the reason why stories and their telling are important to me.

When I say I’m not an innately good person, I don’t mean that I’m a psychopath, or even a big fat jerk, exuding fatness and jerkiness over all that I survey. Externally at least, I’m a fairly nice person. But when, say, one of my friends gets a killer book deal while mine flounders, my first thought isn’t bluebirds and sunshine. It’s dirty and selfish and stupid.

Of course, my second thought is “what a shitty thing to think, don’t do that.” But that first impulse is still out there, and it is bad, and that makes me a less than ideal human being. I struggle against my nature, I strive to overcome it, and bit by bit, I learn to better recognize the awful parts of myself and give them a little less power over my life. That is a basic character arc. I might make for a pretty shitty roommate, but I’m a fairly compelling narrative.

Being kind of an inherent dickbag has a lot of cons, but that’s the one big pro: I understand the importance of narrative to human beings. I want to see people undergo trauma and come out of it changed somehow – if not improved, then at least substantially different. If pressed, I would say this is almost mandatory in storytellers. If you’re a genuinely good person, through and through — from first impulsive thought to your last external action – I don’t know how fully you can understand what comprises a good story.

That’s not a rule or anything, just a sneaking suspicion that I have: Maybe you’re a friggin’ saint, but you have such empathy for others that you can experience whole character arcs in your mind without ever going through them firsthand. I don’t know. But for me, the filthy, savage little goblin in my guts that lashes out before thinking? That bastard is vital to writing.

“Fuck you,” he says, in response to literally anything.

But then, after some consideration, another part of my rational mind kicks in and starts analyzing and dissecting the response. Why does the goblin shit on the success of my friends and loved ones? Is it right, that he does that? What should he do, instead? What can I do to make him behave differently?

I’m not breaking new ground. You hear this type of thing all the time: That most creative types are asshole, bastards and jerks. Kurt Vonnegut manufactured a very specific public image – a frazzled, cynical old hippie persona that colored his writing and endeared him to a generation — and then the biographies came out, stating that in reality, he was straight-laced, extremely selfish, often cruel and generally unloving person. Some readers used this as a reason to dismiss his works: “How can I take what this guy wrote seriously, if  he wasn’t actually like that? If it was all just a cynical act to market to me?”

I think, if Vonnegut truly was the friendly, sad old hippie he pretended to be, his books would have held little to no emotional impact. What made him such a compelling writer wasn’t that he was practically a saint who wrote books – it was that he was an asshole, trying as best he could to understand the saints around him. In his personal life, he failed. In his books, he succeeded. I wouldn’t want to share a tent with the guy, but then I probably wouldn’t enjoy the books of a guy that always picks up after himself, pays his bills on time and never plays his music too loud quite as much.

“Fuck you,” Vonnegut said, in response to pretty much everything. And then, after a moment’s consideration: “But…why?”

See, that’s the reason why I write: I think you should go fuck yourself, and I want to understand why.

Waiting for Inspiration

Let’s talk inspiration…

Fuck inspiration. We’re done talking about inspiration now.

Fine, fine, we’ll elaborate: If you wait for inspiration to strike before you start writing, you will count yourself lucky to average one page a month, and it will not be nearly as good as you think it was when you re-read it the next day. Then you’ll get discouraged and give up writing for a while, only to get inspired six months later and repeat the whole process. That’s a good way for a writer to avoid writing.

You can try to force inspiration by doing inspiring things – Hemingway went fishing, Hunter used drugs, Dostoyevsky had Tuberculosis – but that’s not ultimately necessary. Sure, I work out my creative problems and come up with my best ideas when I’m doing something besides staring at a blinking cursor. But those other tasks are not inspiring – they’re almost universally boring and monotonous. Mundane tasks leave your mind space to roam. Every great idea I have ever had has been conceived, refined, or tweaked while doing the dishes. Or in the shower. Maybe mowing the lawn. I think I had a good idea while cleaning the garage once – but even that was too thought intensive to allow for the right kind of brain rambling.

Further, don’t go thinking your hobbies are your inspiration. If you like sailing boats, or camping, or riding motorcycles, people will invariably ask if that inspires you.

No.

If inspiration struck me while riding my motorcycle, the next thing to strike me would be a tree and I would die. If what you’re doing is inspiring, be present in the experience. Maybe you can draw on it later – but probably not. Because if you’re out doing inspiring things, you’re not going to have time to think about writing; to designate parts of the experience as muse-worthy while discarding the chaff. If you are thinking about writing while making love with exotic women or fighting bulls, then I assure you that you’re doing one or both of those things wrong, and you’ll either end up in the wrong hole or with a very wrong hole of your own.

Your own brain is your only inspiration. The only way to stir creativity is to practice getting your brain to work on the regular.

Externalizing inspiration is a sucker’s game. This is such generic advice, handily repeated a million times on every blog by every writer on Earth. And yet, I still get this one question more than any other: “How do you just sit down and write?”

The form of the question varies. Last year it was: “What is your inspiration?” Last month it was: “Where do you get your ideas?” Yesterday it was: “Do you find maintaining a routine is best, or just write when it strikes you?”

Here’s the answer to that last question: My own schedule is too hectic to allow for setting up a specific time to write, but I do budget an amount of time. I will write for an hour and a half today – whether that’s before work, on my lunch break, or later in the night may vary, but the amount of work I get done does not.

Here’s the answer to the unspoken question behind the question: No, there is no trick, or hack, or easy way to fool words into existing. Writing at exactly 8:55 in the morning, or only after surfing, or twenty minutes after taking two point four tabs of acid — it won’t help. Writing is a skill. Talent helps, as it does with anything — there are talented mechanics and talented pinata sculptors – but practice helps more. If you sit down and write right this second — even if you’re not feeling it — and you turn out garbage, throw it away and do it again tomorrow. It will be slightly better.

Repeat.

Forever.

Until you die.

Entertainment Vs. Meaning: On Blaster Rifles and Divorce

I write juvenile books.

No, not “young adult” or any such respectable label – I mean that I write books with a a kind of immature, callow sensibility.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

Sticking to the genre of my only published fiction novel, cyberpunk, you can see that even the canonical works are pretty juvenile books. I don’t think it’s endemic to the genre or anything – plenty of cyberpunk books have very restrained, adult sensibilities – but even Gibson thinks Neuromancer was a “young man’s” book. Not exactly surprising, since he also calls himself “immature” when he wrote it. He didn’t necessarily mean that as a bad thing, but that’s the way you hear the quote repeated when it’s bandied about by ‘sophisticated’ cyberpunk fans.

That attitude is not particular to cybernetic punks, incidentally.

There’s this strange idea among many readers that only sober and carefully constructed novels can teach us things, or be meaningful to our lives. If a book (or movie, game, album — pretty much anything) is entertaining, then it’s not important. If it’s important, then it’s not entertaining. I’m not sure where this concept of mutual exclusivity came from, but it’s out there. Iain Banks had to write under two different names (even if they were just a single letter apart) to neatly delineate his sci-fi books from his “real” books, lest his somber literary fans accidentally read about space shape-shifting alien spies and have their monocles popped painfully out of their eye sockets.

Comedy, tragedy, life lessons and action scenes aren’t compartmentalized in our daily lives, so why should they be in fiction? Why isn’t every book hilarious, heartbreaking, terrifying and entertaining at the same time? (Well, apart from that it’s really, really hard for one person to do all those things well.) Why do we sort all of our equally viable mental states into separate literary sections? That’s genre segregation. That’s emotional racism.

For example: I know I have a novel in me about a man undergoing a painful, if somewhat amicable divorce. He becomes increasingly convinced that the way to save his relationship is hidden somewhere in his subconscious, so he retreats into dreams, leaving his real relationship to atrophy.

God, isn’t that a fucking bummer?

Nicholas Sparks could write that shit. And this is coming from the guy whose first book had a character named King Big Dick?

Yes, well, hopefully I have a way to pull it off that’s interesting and worthwhile, but I’m not emotionally mature or technically skilled enough as a writer to tackle it yet. And that’s okay, because the book I’m writing right now about punk rockers fighting math monsters is just as important… to the right person. They could read every word of Subconscious Divorce up there and get nothing, but tackle one chapter of Punks Vs. Math and have a line resonate so completely that it changes their life.

Genre fiction isn’t good for just entertainment. I know that sounds obvious, spelled out like that – but so many of even the staunchest genre fans seem unwilling to make that argument. “I just like books that are entertaining,” they’ll say defensively, when the literary fiction bullies corner them in the library with their metaphorical brass knuckles and post-modernist billy clubs. The implication being that entertainment and meaning are oil and water. I don’t believe that. The ends do justify the means, and a horror book could teach somebody all the same valuable lessons that a serious literary drama teaches one of those so-called adults.

In short: You can learn about loss just as effectively from a laser gun as you can from an unsuccessful affair in Paris.

Don’t let anybody tell you different.

The Only Way to Get a Review Wrong

Reviews are lifeblood to us small-time authors. The good ones are amazing to get: They’re gratifying, flattering, humbling and most importantly, helpful. They drive those vital sales. But the bad reviews have a use, too. No author is infallible, and we all have weak points we can work on. Sure, it would be great if even the negative responses were phrased politely — as though they were written by a reasonable person expressing a logical concern to another human being – but this is the internet. We’ll all ride wish-granting unicorns to work before respect and restraint become commonplace. I try to not to comment on negative reviews. People have the right to their opinion, and nothing good ever comes of yelling at them about it. Further, I try to divorce myself from emotion when reading bad reviews from snotty, shitty people. If you can figure out a way not to be offended by their words, they might just have a point in there somewhere. If somebody tells you your book is a fucking mess and you should kill yourself – maybe what they really mean is that it has some pacing problems. That’s fair, and even if it’s not true, it’s a point worth considering. There’s no real way to do a review completely, objectively wrong, save for like this:

review
Note: Please don’t go looking for this reviewer to yell at them or anything. It’s not going to change their mind or help them grow as a person. That only happens on Full House.

That’s pretty low, trying to call into question every other thing your fellow readers have said about a book, just because you didn’t like it. It’s disrespectful, not just of the author, but of all the other reviewers and, indeed, the entire review system in general. It’s self-righteous, to imply that anybody disagreeing with you is cheating somehow. And more troublesome: It’s very, very common. You’ll see this all over the place, wherever consumer reviews are allowed. The second somebody comes across a product that they didn’t like, but has overall positive reviews, they will immediately jump to “well, these are all fake.” They’ll then treat is as their solemn duty to try to “warn” their fellow readers about the scam being perpetrated, because it honestly never occurs to them that some people may enjoy a thing they did not.

“How could anybody like something that I deemed unacceptable? I am the alpha and the omega, the sun and the moon, the swirling vortex at the heart of the cosmos – my opinion is law. If I don’t like something that a lot of other people do, the only logical conclusion is that there is a vast conspiracy at work to dupe these, my people. I must save them – to the conceit-mobile!”

This is a particularly dangerous attitude, because fake reviews and gaming of the system does actually happen. And it should absolutely be stopped – paid reviews are ruining the integrity of the industry and making all of the earnest, honest, positive reviews worth a little bit less. But just because it happens sometimes, that doesn’t mean you get to assume it’s responsible for anything you don’t like. If you absolutely have to be rude in your negative review – fine. Somebody might still get something helpful out of it, despite your best efforts. But if you try to invalidate everything about a book because you didn’t enjoy it, that is plainly and objectively wrong of you. It is a false accusation based on nothing more than your “gut feeling.” So do me a favor, if you’re ever considering calling a book’s reviews into question, do some extremely detailed, expansive research first, and then make sure you present valid proof to the proper authorities (Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Goodreads all take this stuff very seriously) before ever opening your textual mouth. And then do me another favor: If you ever see somebody saying shit like this in a review, don’t lend it any credence. Then do me a third favor: Flag it. This behavior is not okay, and it should be stomped out whenever you see it.

Then do me a fourth favor, and help me move my fridge. I don’t know, you seem to be in the mood to do a lot of favors lately; figured I’d press the advantage.