A Tale of Two Reviews

Two more reviews of John C. Wright’s Hugo nominated short story “An Unimaginable Light” from “God, Robot” have emerged. Here is the consensus from the Frisky Pagan:

Personally, I classify philosophical robot stories where the main point is Artificial Intelligence and not terminators trying to eradicate humanity in the same category as Time travel —a broken concept. It seems like putting the cart before the horse to me, like speculating about the consequences whose premises we don’t even understand. You might as well call them golems and say magicians built them (and surely nobody is going to bother about the problem of Hard Conscious then.)

Now that I have already ranted, what about Wright’s story? Is it good? Yes, it is, and it might be the top finalist, and that could still apply even if the others weren’t so bad (with the notable exception of Vaught’s story.)

As I don’t want to spoil anything, I’ll just say that Unimaginable Light follows (and subverts) certain known tropes and twists in robot/human stories, but where the story excels is in its intellectual or philosophical themes. Robots are, to a considerable degree, a device, an excuse to talk about human nature, morality, religion, God, and a bit about contemporary society.

Read the full review at the link above.

Here we have a new review from Goodreads:

I made the mistake of getting this book in order to read the Hugo short story finalist “An Unimaginable Light,” by John C. Wright, in fairness, since I will be voting. The story was a twisted robot story involving a misogynistic experiment. It’s important to note Wright’s story, by virtue of its Hugo recognition, is likely the best of the anthology. Let’s just say it won’t be getting my vote. The book was returned for a refund. I ordered by mistake, thinking I could tolerate the Puppy paradigm. Not interested in trying anything else from these authors. Creamy thighs, coerced fellatio, threatened flayings and actual burnings just not being my thing.

It is bad form to respond to criticisms. Luckily, none were made. “I don’t prefer this story for vague reasons” is apparently enough to give an entire book – otherwise unread – one star, under the assumption that every other story will also not be written to the reader’s satisfaction.

That the reader prefers a different *type* of story is hardly a fair judgment of the story as written. That’s like reading “King Lear” and giving it one star on the grounds that you don’t like sad endings.

The book was not in any way, shape, or form a puppy book. It is true that many of the authors are associated with the superversive and Castalia crowd. This is because I had connections with some already and was a fan of others.The only authors in the anthology are ones I had already read and loved; puppy or not puppy had nothing to do with it.

The one semi-exception is Steve Rzasa; I asked him to join on because I read his short story “Turncoat” from “Riding the Red Horse” and enjoyed it immensely, and I wouldn’t have read it were it not a puppy nominee. This, of course, is totally irrelevant – I asked Steve to join because I thought his writing was *good*, not because he was a puppy. nominee. As for John’s story, I literally had no idea what it would be about in advance beyond the intentionally broad general theme of the anthology.

The review already has three likes; my suspicion is that other anti-puppy folks were looking for an excuse to bash a puppy work, and found one in a reader who supposedly read it and disliked it. I highly doubt it’s the quality of the “review”…if you can even call it that.