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Reception: Robinson Crusoe 1,000,000 A.D.
Reviews & Comments
Raves First Decade I have already mentioned quite a bit of the world's reaction to this novel, which I initially published starting summer 1996 on , an SFFH site launched by myself and Brian Callahan (see also Clocktower Books Museum Site. My suspense and SFFH novels had a global following of avid fans, typically with workplace Internet access. I still have copies of many of the fan mails I received from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, South Africa, and places around North America. Computer users in those days, before e-commerce, before cyber crime, etc., were generally educated, tech-savvy men and women with a naturally intelligent, lively flair for good SF.
Fictionwise was the premier e-book retailer online in the first decade of the 20th Century. My imprints Clocktower Books and Far Sector SFFH (SF magazine) published a lot of material at Fictionwise, with considerable acclaim. In all, we published the work of at least fifty authors, some of whom had either won or would eventually win all the top prizes in the field, around the world, including Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, and other awards. Several were accepted by us as their first-ever publication, and went on to great things. More on all that later.
Library Journal Review. At press time in 2003, LJ gave it a thumbs up, saying among other words that it "brings a fresh new take on the famous classic novel by Daniel Defoe. Recommended for large libraries."
Robinson Crusoe 1,000,000 A.D., my SF novel described in these pages, did best of all my work. I don't have exact sales figures any more, but at the time, I estimated that about ten percent of readers tended to post a rating like those shown at right. Probably between four and five thousand men and women read the novel at Fictionwise, which was a huge number in that small, seminal e-book publishing market; those numbers mean a lot. Most of the results for this novel were recorded in the early part of the oughts, as the first decade of the new century was sometimes called. I did a screen capture and some quick calculations before Fictionwise was pulled down by Barnes & Noble in late 2011/early 2012. Results are shown in the image at right. Careful analysis shows that, of 409 reviews, 35% were Great, 37% were Good, 23% were OK, and only 5% were Poor. Or, 95% were positive reviews. In today's five star system found across major retail sites, that would be a high four to five star range. That appreciation came from tech-savvy, professional computer systems developers, workers, and users around the world; many were avid gamers and SF readers.
Changing Markets. By the latter half of the oughts, the fiction readership at Fictionwise had changed. I did extremely well in the Nonfiction area, especially History. In the fiction department, my writers at Far Sector SFFH did relatively well. I keep editorially aloof, never publishing any of my short fiction at the magazine until its last few months. I did have a lot of novel-length and short fiction in the SF and suspense/thriller categories. After about 2008, Robinson Crusoe 1,000,000 A.D. did not pick up a lot of ratings anymore. After the disappearance of Fictionwise in early 2012, my robinsonade languished in the doldrums of what super-agent Jeff Herman has called Ignored Writer Syndrome (IWS). Some of the very few critiques (still to be seen at Amazon) are hard to even relate to this novel. The vast majority of readers are wonderful people who approach the writer and his or her hard work with sympathy and respect. That has been my experience for the most part. All of use writers know we should expect a few hits from trolls or 'haters,' as one Canadian author friend of mine calls them. The only reason for mentioning them is that all too often, a center-target nuke from one of these persons can leave a crater that makes normal readers shy away. My hope in publishing the older Fictionwise results, and their explanation, along with all my commentary in these Info pages, is to give readers today a new interest in my work and that of other, older authors like Cordwainer Smith, James Tiptree, Jr., and the like. Thank youJTC.