Monday, April 28, 2008

Computer Written Books

There is a fascinating article in The New York Times by Noam Cohen about a man who wrote 200,000 books. His name is Philip M. Parker and he didn't exactly write the books, he "assembled" them, with the aid of computers.

"Mr. Parker has generated more than 200,000 books, as an advanced search on under his publishing company shows, making him, in his own words, “the most published author in the history of the planet.” And he makes money doing it."

I guess it's not too surprising that someone like Harriet Klausner has used computers to fake book reviews, or that Grady Harp seems to possess some type of robotic voting program to boost his Amazon ranking, this man actually is using computers to compile books.The article goes on to say:

"If this sounds like cheating to the layman’s ear, it does not to Mr. Parker, who holds some provocative — and apparently profitable — ideas on what constitutes a book. While the most popular of his books may sell hundreds of copies, he said, many have sales in the dozens, often to medical libraries collecting nearly everything he produces. He has extended his technique to crossword puzzles, rudimentary poetry and even to scripts for animated game shows.

And he is laying the groundwork for romance novels generated by new algorithms. “I’ve already set it up,” he said. “There are only so many body parts.”

Soon those people who like romance novels will have Mr. Parker's computer generated romances to look forward to. Who would like to wager that Harriet Klausner will give them all five stars?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Grady Harp Reviews Plagiarized Book

**** The Fates: A Novel
by Tino Georgiou
Edition: Paperback
Availability: Currently unavailable

77 of 99 people found the following review helpful:
The Return of the Great Romance Novel, February 25, 2008
Reading and reviewing early works by novice writers is at times a daunting task. When the writer is so obviously talented as is author Tino Georgiou, the task is easier. Does the novel engage interest from the first page? Are the characters readily identifiable by the third chapter? Is the time frame of the story visually reconstructed in a credible, well-researched manner? In the case to THE FATES the answer is a resounding 'yes', and yet to ignore problems in the execution of the novel would be a disservice to not only potential readers but to the receptive, learning author.

THE FATES is a heady romance set in ancient Greek times. The Greeks, under the leadership of Sir Nicholas Constinos, have taken over Karabey Palace in the realm of Turkey, a palace fraught with resentment from the long wars with Greece and form the fact that the Turks on whose land it stands are resentful of the occupiers. The clash of societies is brought to a head with the introduction of the once upper class Turkish family of the Baals in the form of the beautiful Leah Baal. The struggle between the two obviously love stricken couple of Nicholas and Leah form the wedge which drives the story in an near Shakespearean conflict between class, national pride, and honest love that seeks to change the world view by its own rules. Love, lust, revenge, sacrifice, and fidelity are all issues that rise from the steam of the love affair between the Greek Nicholas and the Turk Leah.

This is a very entertaining story, one that will please devotees of historical Romance novels. There are problems that the author should address. In transporting the reader to another time in history and maintaining the atmosphere of that period (obviously well researched, here), it is a major mistake to insert phrases as early as page 2 that read 'He was not handsome in the underweight model way so fashionable among men and women on television today'. That sort of jolt disturbs the historical flow of the story! Also choosing names for the characters that are obviously not from the time of the story is disconcerting, names such as 'Josh', 'Keith', 'Patrick', etc. And do we have any evidence that the courtly designators such as 'Sir' and 'Lady' and 'Dame' were used in this era? Yes, these are minor flaws and should not stop the eager reader from enjoying this romance novel. They are mentioned as thoughts for the novelist to consider in what appears will be a long line of novels of this type. New writers are fresh, malleable, and deserve nurturing: Tino Georgiou obviously has the talent that will take him far. Grady Harp, February 08 Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2008 6:46 AM PDT

Do you remember this review? He gave this book four stars even though it sounds so poorly written as to be amusing. Ancient Greeks named Josh and Keith?! Grady Harp believes those characters' names to be the product of an "obviously well researched" novel? From what I've read in discussions at Amazon U.K. this book seems to have had the dubious distinction of being plagiarized twice. It was originally written and published as "Wildsong" by Catherine Creel in 1996. Then it becane "Circe's Song" by K.G. Glaub, and finally, "The Fates" by Tino Georgiou. How sad to see one dishonest person duped by another.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rereading Emerson: nothing is new under the sun

He [Carlyle] took despairing or satirical views of literature at this moment; recounted the incredible sums paid in one year by the great booksellers for puffing. Hence it comes that no newspaper is trusted now, no books are bought, and the booksellers are on the eve of bankruptcy."
From English Traits, published in 1856. Emerson visited England in 1847.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

More links and comments on the D.A.M. fiasco

Reba chimes in on a new thread on Dear Author, and check out this hilarious one from Karen Knows Best as DAM'S comments on Reba's review are found on the google cache. We also have a nasty new commenter on Reba's review of In Her Bed, looks to me like someone's opened up a brand new sock puppet Amazon account, with two brand new reviews. I'm wondering if the location on the profile being Hell on earth has any sigifinicance to DAM'S life these days?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jfoureur Explains It All

Here is "jfoureur's" answer to how Grady Harp amasses all of his helpful votes on his reviews. It appears in a comment on a review of "The River" written by Betty Dravis. According to "jfoureur", we do it, acting in accordance with Stanley Nemeth's directions.

Of course of the nearly thirty people who read this brilliant comment exactly none of them found it to be helpful. Look at the spelling, look at the grammar. Tell me, who does this remind you of? It was one of three comments posted on that review by "jfoureur" rushing to the defense of Marie M. It makes you think, doesn't it?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2008 9:55 AM PDT
jfoureur says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Hide post again. (Show all unhelpful posts)]
and your proof ?????????
or do you now kneel at the altar of Mrs. Delaney ???????
you seem more intelligent.
have you ever considered the possibility that Mrs Delaney and her cohorts use their own dummy accounts to mess with grady's vote counts and then accuse him of corruption.
his votes were normal until "they" appeared and curoiusly spiked when the pedantic Mr Nemetts gave instructions on their blog on how to set up dummy accounts,expressly for voting.
just an unproven possibility of course.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More info on the Debbie Mac Scandal

Credit for this comes from commenters on a new thread on Dear Author. One from Karen Knows Best disputing DAM's claim that she's only an author and not a co-publisher at Highland Press. And two more, one from Galley Cat titled Authors Behaving Badly, and one from Jem's Thoughts. All this hoopla on the internet and still no posting on Amazon's discussion board. Perhaps Mark is right, no one wants to tangle with her.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Scandal in the romance genre involving one of our top reviewers!

Oh my, quite a tempest in a tea pot as you can see from reading this article on Dear Author on Highland Press and later this one demanding changes on Amazon's reviewing system. There's also been quite a lively discussion going on about this same topic at Amazon's Romance Discussions under the topic: Help! My negative reviews are being deleted.

It appears that the Romance field is quite a hot bed of competition, and some of it quite nasty, and that Top Reviewer and author Deborah MacGillvray is right smack in the middle of the scandal.