The Blog's Mission

Wikipedia defines a book review as: “a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit. A book review can be a primary source opinion piece, summary review or scholarly review”. My mission is to provide the reader with my thoughts on the author’s work whether it’s good, bad, or ugly. I read all genres of books, so some of the reviews may be on hard to find books, or currently out of print. All of my reviews will also be available on I will write a comment section at the end of each review to provide the reader with some little known facts about the author, or the subject of the book. Every now and then, I’ve had an author email me concerning the reading and reviewing of their work. If an author wants to contact me, you can email me at I would be glad to read, review and comment on any nascent, or experienced writer’s books. If warranted, I like to add a little comedy to accent my reviews, so enjoy!
Thanks, Rick O.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


The author sent me a copy of his novel to read and review:

I didn’t find the genre of this novel post-apocalyptic or dystopian like most reviewers did. It smacks of weird fiction (but not in a bad way). You don’t know what weird fiction is? Read award winning author, China Mieville, who is the undisputed champion of that genre. See my reviews of Railsea (10/26/2012); Embassytown (3/4/2012) and Kraken (4/10/2011)...then you will know what I’m talking about. Martin Ott’s novel is written in that style sans Mieville’s rather sesquipedalian language and the constant use of "that that". I thought Ott’s novel was weird fiction because no matter how well you assume that you understand the story, you really don’t have a full grasp of what’s going on. You kinda do, but you really don’t. That’s the hallmark of weird fiction novels. I mean in Ott’s novel, exactly what is the Usan empire? Why is "usa" used as an interjection throughout the story, such as, “Usa, that hurt!” (in other words, “God, that hurt”). Did you get a good handle on what crisping was? And what’s up with Mr. G? Why are there pets in this story, such as a Chimpanzadog or a Chickendog? Because that’s weird fiction. Have a idea for a pet? Just go to your local Pet Center and tell them what you want. I mostly enjoyed Ott’s story, but like the three Mieville novels I mentioned above...I felt, nonetheless, that I had brain damage when the story ended.

President George Polk (a crisping freak) was on top of the world in his ozonodome in Collings City. “A party smoldered behind smoky windows, emanating a hazy crimson glow. Inside, a crowd had formed in George Polk’s rumpus room, a high-tech entertainment center and gambling den where the president entertained guests, brokered deals, pretty much whatever he wanted.” Mere Roosevelt, who works for Polk, is there. His claim to fame with Polk is that he developed a transmission fluid that increased the efficiency of the city’s organiputer (don’t ask me what that is). And he just got crisped! (first treatment?). Mere is a lightening...why is it important to be dark skinned? “He didn’t notice any change in pigmentation - he was still plenty light for a Hightowner.” Mere and his wife, Gail, used to be Lowtowners. Mere wanders home after some shenanigans in town and gets into a heated argument with Gail. Mere falls asleep. When he wakes, “Her Zero G suitcase was gone, just as she was. After all the threats, she finally gone and done it. She’d moved out on him.” Then, “Mere waited as long as he dared and sliced airborne through the faint after-image of the phasing hatch. He pivoted after landing and whirled in time to watch the doorway solidify.” When I was in the Marine Corps, the D.I. would say, “Now that’s how a Marine leaves a room.” Haha.  

Mere realizes that “Today was Augusa 1, the beginning of yet another citywide clothing mandate. To liquidate overstock from faulty quotas, Pyramid marketers had created a new fashion-turtle neck shirts without shirts. Mere was stopped by a policemen (a white shirt) who said, Where is your turtleneck ring, citizen? The white shirt flicked on his portable comp, unwrapped a fresh needle, and pricked Mere in the palm. A trail of wires snaked beneath the guard’s uniform and emerged through his pant legs into an organiport.” The white shirt realizes that Mere is okay and just got promoted by friends in high places. Mere says, “So does this mean I’m free to go?” The officer says, “With a warning. But don’t let it happen again or we’ll slag your ass, friends or no.” Mere’s major troubles start when he finds his wife in a sexual situation at the Sierra Resort. He beats the men up and leaves. He decides to head to a bar that was in his old neighborhood in North Irony called Boo’s Bar. “A watered down rom (the drink of choice) didn’t sound like too bad an idea, especially after demolishing those loin-clothed fatcats.” Later that night (on page 42), outside the Boo’s Bar, Mere would mistakenly kill a white shirt. This is where the main anguish for Mere starts and the action shifts into overdrive.

Weird fiction is tough to read because almost every situation is somewhat bizarre and fuzzy. That’s why I say that my brain bleeds trying to figure out what’s going on. Sometimes the reader is not cognizant of the simplest things, such as what year the story is taking place in, or whether or not the characters are on earth or on an imaginary land. Anyway, Martin Ott did a yeoman’s job on this novel, but I can’t grade his novel at the same level that I rated China Mieville’s Railsea. By the way, I had to read three of Mieville’s novels before the lightbulb went on.  
RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

Comment: I believe it’s notable that Book Reviews and Comments by Rick O has surpassed a significant milestone...The Tercentenary level. That’s right, the above review of Spectrum is review number 301. It took six years and nine months to do it, but it got done. Hopefully my reviews over that time period have become more expressive, eloquent and omniscient (just kidding). But seriously, after writing reviews for almost seven years, it has given me a better understanding of the writing game, and I hope that that knowledge has reflected in better and better reviews by me and my guest reviewers. Did I get China Mieville with that that or what? Anyway, I’m constantly getting emails from authors expressing their preference for my style. They tell me that they like my in-depth look at their work (remember it’s their baby) and they love my comparing of their book to similar books and authors. My third book of reviews should be published around Christmas time.

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