Wonderful 2 Star Review of Ledman Pickup

Wow. I’m blown away by this terrific 2 star review of my Ledman Pickup posted on Amazon.com. The reviewer really took some time and thought about the story a lot – maybe a little too much! Although there is some criticism of my typos, I don’t think there are nearly as many in the book as there are in this review, but whatever. I never worry much about typos in books. If I can’t figure out what it was supposed to be, there are bigger problems!

Ledman Pickup is the story of a prototype of a special hand-held device that has the ability to record a person’s personality, and “play it back” into another person. Unfortunately, it begins replaying its recording into the box it was shipped in, leading it to become a brand new sort of life form. While the company that made the thing tries to get it back, the device has a mind of its own, and isn’t so easily recaptured.

Here’s the review { with my comments in brackets like this }

————————

TWO STARS

Good concept, but needs work. (spoiler alert) July 12, 2012
A good editor would be very helpful. There were a few typo-s (than instead of then for example) but mostly to clean up lazy writing. I don’t mean Tom Lichtenberg is lazy, but when writing sometimes (many times ) its more important to get the idea down and plan on cleaning it up afterwords than to worry about making sure every sentence is well written. There is some really bad sentence structure “Is it all of it?” or “carrying on the same carry-on” that should really be rewritten. I lost count how many times “burger joint” was used.

{ hey, I kind of liked “carrying on the same carry-on” }

there are a LOT of interesting threads in the story that are left unfinished:

Leonora’s father went to prison for life because he killed a general to save a lot of people but we never find out what happened? what is “this war” all we know is its been going on for a long time and that it no longer mattered what borders it was fought on.

{ think ‘war on terror’, think ‘war on drugs’, think ‘war on stuff in general’, think ‘perpetual war as Republican party political strategy }

What happened to leonora’s mother? how/why is she off the grid?

{ who knows? I don’t }

why is chris not telling kandhi everything? She is trying to recover the device for him but he does not give her information that would help her do her job. He does not tell her ginger is already involved though he implies she wont be as long as kandhi continues to look for the device.

{ ah, office politics. I think maybe the reviewer is unfamiliar with that kind of thing }

Why do kandhi and ginger hate each other so much?

{ ditto }

At one point ginger is thinking about the issues of mind control. “who is controlling the controller “? Lichtenberg takes a page an half to set this question up, and just drops it with a she didn’t care about ethics. Why the effort to set up the question just to be dropped? I was disappointed because I expected something after such a buildup.

{ it was a rhetorical question, intended to make you think about it, sort of along the lines of ‘if God created everything, who created God? }

Zoey is introduced as the main character but half way through the story we never hear from her again. What happen to her?

{ the device is the main character and the story follows it, not its temporary possessors }

Leonora’s life got changed when the device start “playing ” Zoey’s personality on her. This reminded me of Neil Stephenson’s “diamond age” in that the device seems to be helping leonora grow and realize her potential. This slow change in personality was the best part of the story. Tom did a great job with it. I still wonder how much of the changes were permanet after she gave the device back.

{ yes! wonder! }

Then there are things that just don’t make sense :

If the company is so worried about security why are they sending prototype devices through the mail?

{ this is called “incompetence” }

How is it possible the two guys working at ledman are still working there? With the number of packages being lost there so great as to provide business to another company devoted to finding lost packages, other shipping companies are bound to notice and get tired of paying penalties for losses. Ledman would quickly be removed from most delivery routes.

{ this is called “the status quo” }

Why would Ginger, head of security, want to get rid of the quality assurance department?

{ everybody hates quality assurance }

Ginger apparently has control over kandhi’s upd. It conveniently has a mind control “plugin” which allows ginger to literally take control of kandhi’s thought process. But she apparently forgets about this ability because she has to “remember she had root control of kandhi’s upd” This power is not something I’d forget about, I don’t accept the chief security officer would either.

{ good point. ginger isn’t perfect, however }

When ginger orders the device to go back to the burger place it seems to comply, but suddenly it changes its mind? If it didnt have to obey the command why head in that direction?

{ who knows what a device might be thinking? it also considers Green Bay to be “better” than San Francisco. maybe it’s not that smart! }

When kandhi turns off her upd, she is basically giving the finger to ginger. We never learn what gingers reaction is to this.

{ my guess? ginger is not happy }

If the device has mind control, then why not take over kandhi instead of going to the airport, forcing her luggage to be checked instead of carried on, and then use mind control on the baggage guy to sent put it on a different flight?

{ the device works in mysterious ways }

The device has no keyboard or screen but experiences things in terms of a keyboard and screen. “something about the noise that clicked its keys, that lit its screen…”

{ metaphorical keys and screen, i believe }

the device posts a message on Zoeys’ socialsite page “this is the day”, But kandhi says every post its made has “source, destination, start time, and its unique bar code” and that it has been consistent in this format from “day one”

{ could be a bug in the story. file it! }

All of the above being true, I still finished the story. I liked the story. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I was really disappointed so many interesting ideas were just dropped. There are several contradictions within the plot which really turned me off. It feels like this is rough draft not a finished story.

{ well, it is what it is. all my stories are kind of rough, i admit. it’s a flaw, but i’m not sure it really matters }

———————

many thanks to this reviewer – those are the best two stars ever!

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