fantasy and science fiction book reviewsAs a reviewer I get a chance to read books I wouldn’t normally read — it’s part of the job. However I have also been known to purposely read something that looks quite terrible on the off-chance that I discover a real “diamond in the rough.” These “diamonds” not only have terrible covers, but have cheesy back cover descriptions and blurbs from authors you’ve never heard of.

“Jack John Johnson’s latest book was great.” — Patrick Warbermanjensen Author of Night Fillies

I admit that I have not been very successful at finding diamonds. I tend to not finish them and then I usually have to cleanse them from my brain with a stiff drink. One diamond I actually did find, back when I was 13 years old, was L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth. It’s a very polarizing novel in the Science Fiction community. People seem to either love it or hate it. When I bought it, I had no clue who Hubbard was and, at a quick glance, the book seemed to be quite awful. My grandfather had actually purchased it after we spotted it at the grocery store. We chuckled about the ridiculous cover and the book’s overwhelming length, and decided we should read it just for the fun of it.

We both read it and liked it a great deal. I had read it with no prior knowledge of Hubbard’s shenanigans. I liked Hubbard’s over-the-top style and simple prose. It was the very essence of a SciFi adventure story, and for a 13 year old it was like nothing I’d ever read before. (Keep in mind, this was well before the abysmal movie adaption.)

Have you ever bought a book on a whim and expected the worst, but got the opposite? How about a favorite of yours that seems to get a bad rap? Tell us about it in the comments below and we’ll pick one of you to choose a book from our Stacks.


  • Justin Blazier

    JUSTIN BLAZIER (on FanLit's staff since September 2009) is a Cyber-Security Analyst/Network Engineer located in Northern Kentucky. Like many fantasy enthusiasts, Justin cut his teeth on authors like Tolkien, Anthony, and Lewis. Due to lack of space, his small public library would often give him their donated SFF books. When he is not reading books he is likely playing board games or Tabletop RPGs. Justin lives in a quiet neighborhood with his wife, their daughter, and Norman the dog.