A Request for Clarification

Eric Rosenfield, I just got an email that you had rated James S.A. Corey's space opera novel Leviathan Wakes at 5 stars on goodreads.com

I need to know if this is hyperbole. As you are no doubt aware, the only truly perfect space opera ever to appear in literature are the Culture novels by the lamented and late Iain Banks. Perfect space opera in other media are certainly almost as rare. Empire Strikes Back, The Wrath of Khan, Firefly and Serenity, Farscape minus a handful of clunky episodes, 70% of the first season of the Battlestar Galactica reboot, Ice Pirates, The middle 60 minutes ofTitan AE... There may be others, but they are few and far between and as far as the printed word is concerned, very little comes close. Peter Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy possibly approaches that quality, but tends to collapse under its own weight and bizarre theological weirdness.

By rating Corey 5 stars, you have signaled to me and to every other right thinking person that Corey is in the same rank as Banks, and that is high praise to the point of stretching its credibility.

Please explain yourself.


You get an email every time I

You get an email every time I rate a book on Goodreads? That's... amazing.

So I'll be the first to admit I tend to be generous with my reviews. That has a lot to do with supporting writers I like because I'm keenly aware of how things like Goodreads ratings can affect sales. It's very rare for me to even post a book on Goodreads that I rate as two stars, and a one star book I'll never even bother (though I also only post books on Goodreads that I finish, and I almost never finish a book that I rate one star).

So, that said, do I think Leviathan Wakes is as good a book as the Culture books? No. Do I think it's as good as the Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold, my other great space opera love? No again.

However, I think that Leviathan Wakes is a space opera that accomplishes everything it set out to accomplish, kept me avidly reading through almost 600 pages and made me want to read the next book when it was over. Which is, frankly, rare enough that I thought it deserved 5 stars.

To be even clearer: If you

To be even clearer: If you like really well-written space opera, you will like this book. So, yeah, give it a go.