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Old March 21 2012, 04:11 AM   #50
Fleet Captain
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Location: Berlin, Germany
Re: TOS: That Which Divides by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Well, a book that is getting majority average-or-better ratings is coming out so near the bottom of the list because other books have an even higher percentage of average-or-better ratings. So yes, even the books toward the bottom of the list aren't necessarily considered bad, they're just being relatively less well-liked than others.

This is technically apparent from the numbers already: The lowest-rated book has an average score of 2.67 right now, which in a spectrum from 1-5 isn't all that bad. It's also why I added the little vote distribution bar graphs, though, so you can see at a glance what actually went into the score.

It's also somewhat to be expected I'd say. People read Trek novels because they like Trek novels; people who don't consider Trek novels worth their time won't read them and participate in the first place. So it's not all that surprising that the response spectrum only really starts at "meh" and "Poor" is only invoked very rarely.

Put another way: If Trek novels were regularly bad enough to make poll participants exercise both the upper and lower parts of the possible response spectrum equally, I don't think the novel line would be commercially viable for long, or would at least likely fail to attract the committed followers that participate in this forum. Luckily, our esteemed editors and authors seem to be doing a good enough job that even their least inspired output does not fail to entertain.

In that sense, the methodology may not be flawed as much as it simply reflects that on the whole, the Star Trek novel line is well-regarded by its readers . Well, if you ignore the inherent selection bias of course (the poll participants being a subset of the readers and not a truly representative sampling).

(To go a bit deeper: I actually commented on this in the past, and also talked about the fact that the presented poll options are relative rather than absolute, begging the question whether participants use all of their reading or only their TrekLit as reference frame in picking an option. The thread also went a little into alternate scoring systems.)

Anyway, I just found it interesting that TrekMovie's review was very positive (while they're generally not shy to dislike them, either), while I'd describe the reaction in this thread (even numbers aside) as relatively less enthusiastic so far than e.g. for The Rings of Time, to use another recent TOS stand-alone novel as an example. So perhaps someone who read the thread and decided not to buy because they got a similar impression would be swayed by this review if they get the feeling the reviewer has similar tastes/interests as them.

Last edited by Sho; March 21 2012 at 04:40 AM.
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