Jun 04 2013

Reviews? They didn’t tell me there would be critics and reviews!

Oh, no, not another reason to feel stressed. The very first review of The Happy Atheist has come out, in Publisher’s Weekly, and I can’t bear to look. Tell me it’s OK (it doesn’t matter if it actually is OK, just tell me it is.)


I’m not expected to paste these in a scrapbook or something silly like that, am I? Because I refuse.


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  1. 1

    If he won’t, someone else will have to.

    Minions, grab your scissors and glue or whatever. Start scrapping.

  2. 2

    Hey, PZ, don’t be shy. Tell us what you really think.

  3. 3
    Brett McCoy

    The reviewer must be an atheist also :-P

  4. 4

    I’m not expected to paste these in a scrapbook or something silly like that, am I? Because I refuse.

    That’s too bad, because this would be a keeper. I’m very happy for you, PZ and can’t wait until August.

  5. 5
    PZ Myers

    Given my enemies, and the subject, I anticipate many negative reviews.

  6. 6

    I think the “reviews” in Publishers Weekly are supposed to sell books, not criticize them.

    So yeah, it’s good.

  7. 7

    Nice one, PZ. That should sell a few copies. I’m sure you’re a happy atheist after reading it. Nice pull quote in the piece, and on the Amazon page for the book as well.

  8. 8

    Given my enemies, and the subject, I anticipate many negative reviews.

    Oh, PZ… I’m sure Jerry Coyne will try to find a few positives, and Phil Plait at least won’t be a dick about it.

  9. 9
    PZ Myers

    Yeah, Publisher’s Weekly is a soft touch.

  10. 10

    It’s my understanding that favorable reviews are to be framed and mounted on one’s wall.

    Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

  11. 11

    Now I want the book even more.
    If you won’t frame it, at least put it in an Accessible Safe Space, so you can read it in between all the nasty reviews.

  12. 12

    Does posting the reviews on your blog constitute digital scrapbooking?

  13. 13
    Lynna, OM

    “Self-serving puffery” sounds like it might be fun, but, of course, useless. Apart from that, I liked the fact that the reviewer quoted from the book several times. This PZ Myers character sounds like he might be a straight shooter.

  14. 14

    Note from someone who has been writing novels for 20 years … PW is not a “soft touch.” I have definitely seen negative, even scathing reviews from them, and have myself received so-so or even leaning-negative reviews most of the time. My best review has just come in, for my first urban fantasy, but I can testify that PW reviews are not only to “sell books.” They are quite real, so PZ’s is worth something.

  15. 15
    A. R

    I was just about to go preorder a copy, then I noticed that I already had without remembering it. WHAT ARE YOU UP TO PZ!!!!!!

  16. 16

    When the revolution comes, literary critics will be put against the wall and shot. Immediately after all those who say “when the revolution comes . . . “

  17. 17
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Congrats, PZ. I look forward to your book with an enthusiasm I usually reserve for select video games.

    And that’s a good thing.

  18. 18
    Gregory Greenwood

    That review actually makes sense at least, something that will be in short supply once the shrieking shills for various xian cults start wailing that the book represents the crystalised doom of civilisation, and that all the copies must be burned before they open a portal direct to the tenth circle of hell…

    … or, you know, something understated and restrained like that.

    I must preorder a copy from somewhere. I wonder if I can get it from Amazon…?

    Yup – looks like I will have my copy in August. :-)

  19. 19

    I anticipate that the only negative comment I will have about it is that no matter how long it is, it will be too short.

  20. 20

    Speaking as someone whose work has been described in PW as “detestable,” (the centerpiece of the review in question) I agree with Susan that PW is hardly a “soft touch.”

  21. 21
    YOB - Ye Olde Blacksmith

    The Overlord has spoken! Must pre-order now!

    Or something…

  22. 22

    Well, that was certainly a good way to plug his book. I just pre-ordered mine.

  23. 23

    I can imagine the religious working themselves up into a lather over just the quotations given in that review!

  24. 24

    Terrific review. Imo it would be unrealistic to hope for better. Even though I figure I’ve hard all the arguments by now, the chance to have them presented humorously appeals. Can’t wait for the movie. Oops maybe I can.

    An anti-religion gem from Lawrence Krauss: Forget Jesus.

    Sooo… anyone come begging for the movie rights yet? Card-carry member of the Church of Scientology perhaps? They’d only change a few words, I’m sure!

  25. 25

    Trying that link again http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZiXC8Yh4T0&t=16m25s

  26. 26

    Those only remotely critical review I’ve seen so far is this one, which just tries to claim that PZ isn’t really happy because he refuses to suffer fools gladly.

  27. 27
    PZ Myers

    Oh, jeez. Jinx McHue. He was one of the very first obsessed cranks I had to ban, way way back when this blog was run on my lab computer, and he also created an early anti-PZ blog on blogspot. Really obsessed, really full of hate, and still going on and on about it.

    By the way, that isn’t a review. He hasn’t read the book. He just passionately hates me.

  28. 28

    Don’t worry PZ, you will feel much better when you get your first royalty cheque!

  29. 29

    If the book can be printed and passed to this reviewer, why do we have to wait TWO MONTHS yet to buy a copy?! Have publishers still not yet grasped the speed at which the rest of the world works?

  30. 30

    Did Ken Ham get a copy? I wonder how he’s going to write a review without mentioning your name or even your website.

  31. 31

    I would think by pasting it here you have pasted it for ever in this digital realm where things do not disappear.
    congrats! one step closer to fame and fortune!!

    uncle frogy

  32. 32

    When I pre-ordered it from Amazon the post-pre-order page had (amongst others) “Atheism for Dummies”!
    That must be the most inappropriate of their titles since “ASL for Dummies” (I have a photo of that”

  33. 33
  34. 34
    Pierce R. Butler

    Should anyone rely on the judgment of reviews from a periodical which describes an author as “written” and allows three hyphenations in a row?

  35. 35

    For those looking for the text, the review can be read here on Publisher’s Weekly’s website.
    (Though I don’t know how long it will remain available to nonsubscribers.)

  36. 36
    David Marjanović

    I anticipate that the only negative comment I will have about it is that no matter how long it is, it will be too short.

    + 1

  37. 37

    So where do I vote for an audio book?

  38. 38

    The review is what I would expect from the cesspit of AtheistMuslimSecularSocialistCommunistFeminazi propaganda that is Publishers Weekly.

    I await the cogent, nuanced, literate and insightful review that is sure to come from World Net Daily.

  39. 39

    You can read it, P-zed.

    It’s an unbiased capsule summary of your book with a few words used that imply approval, e.g. “punchy”, “deft”.

    On the assumption that you receive royalties from sales, what you really need is some dingbat megachurch “pastor” to proclaim that it’s unclean, straight from the hands of Satan, will convert innocent children to homosexuality, make old ladies cry, and ought to be banned. That’ll increase sales. If someone can lure the mayor and council of some benighted city in the grip of religious superstition to actually ban it, followed by high intensity legal wrangling, even better. Remember: there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

  40. 40

    It’s a good review. Also you’re smart and pretty and people like you.

  41. 41

    “I’m not expected to paste these in a scrapbook or something silly like that, am I? Because I refuse…” says the guy with the permanently-archived hugely popular public diary :-)

    Congrats on the book!

  42. 42

    No worries PZ. It seems to me that an “inverse barometer effect” favorably applies to your situation. Negative reviews from clueless irrational blowhards can serve as positive validation of the thesis of your book, and should be as welcome as positive reviews from rational reviewers: WIN-WIN!

  43. 43

    PZ, the correct thing to do with reviews is to not read them, because turnabout is fair play.

  44. 44

    UK bookseller here (and first-time poster, hello all!).
    Any idea if the UK rights have been sold PZ? I’d like to see this on my recommends shelf when the time comes, but the industry catalogue currently reads “Not for sale in the UK”.

  45. 45

    Published by “Pantheon”?! That’s some irony, there. If this becomes their all-time best-seller, perhaps they’ll change that to Atheon.

  46. 46

    I’m not expected to paste these in a scrapbook or something silly like that, am I? Because I refuse.

    That’s okay, big guy – we’ll scrapbook them for you…

  47. 47

    Soooooo…… This means book tour, yes? Will the Trophy Wife come with?

  48. 48

    Don’t forget to send a preview copy to Bill Donohue. You might get lucky and have him loudly (how else?) decry it the next time he’s on Fox or CNN.

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