ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

And it goes out with a BANG!

And it goes out with a BANG! 
How to Make a Bad Review Good!

I got another Publishers Weekly Review today.

This is my third review from them.

They loved Scarecrow Gods.

They loved Multiplex Fandango.

To say that they love Blood Ocean would be stretching the meaning of the word past any credible elasticity. In fact, I think they hated it. Why do I think they hated it? Using critical thinking and my knowledge of the English language, comments such as 'tolerable prose,' 'shallow world-building,' and 'repellent' have led me to believe that they indeed hate it.

But the clincher was the closing line. The result is a throwback to horror's unpleasant past, from which most readers have long since moved on.


Feel the hate.

Embrace it

But what does it mean?

Before we can answer that, here's the entire review, lifted from their site.

Blood Ocean
A plague has left the City on the Waves, a ragtag community of decaying ships in the Pacific, isolated and desperate. Kavika Kamilani sets out to find the killers of young drug-runner Akamu. This quest will cost Kavika his closest friends and family, shatter his world, and cast a terrible light on the secret power structures in command of his tiny community. Stoker winner Ochse writes tolerable prose sabotaged by shallow world-building. The novel begins promisingly enough but soon descends into displays of cliché and violence. A plot predictable to anyone familiar with Norman Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron is married to antiquated social and sexual conventions; the fate of a transsexual character is particularly repellent, as is Ochse's decision to describe the Korean characters as cannibals. The result is a throwback to horror's unpleasant past, from which most readers have long since moved on. (Feb.)
How's this: "BLOOD OCEAN, a book so horrific and real that Publisher's Weekly found it repellent and unpleasant."

Or what about this:  "BLOOD OCEAN, a throwback to everything you love about horror."

Or maybe this:  "BLOOD OCEAN, a book so violent that Publishers Weekly became angry at the deaths of it's many characters."
Some say horror died in the 90’s, but this is patently untrue. Horror as a marketing category to be stamped on the spine of a book certainly died, but the stories and books and readers were still there. From 1991 to 1995, the most prominent mass market horror publishers were Zebra Books and the Dell Abyss line. Zebra was your traditional mass-market pulp house, cranking out novels with garish covers. Dell-Abyss was a little different. Started with the mission statement of getting away from the traditional horror of King, Koontz, and Straub, Dell Abyss was to publish more cutting-edge horror, and for a while, they did. Then the whole thing came crashing down, leaving folks like Brian Hodge and Kathe Koja homeless. Meanwhile, over at Zebra, authors weren’t getting paid on time. Zebra collapsed, too, which left authors like Rick Hautala and Ronald Kelly scrambling. (Credit Brian Keene)


  1. Well, that was a really good bit. Well worth reading...but honestly, ya had me sold on Blood Ocean from the moment you said it disturbed Publishers Weekly.

  2. This was a fantastic, thoughtful post. I can see how a cross-genre story could create some problems when it comes to reviews, and I agree with you. The reviewer was probably a Sci-Fi fan, rather than a horror aficionado.

    I, personally, would love to see more mainstream cross-genre novels. It seems a helluva lot more cliche to always stick to the accept mores for each genre.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking read.

  3. Jack. That's a hoot. Instead of 'you had me at hello,' it's now 'you sold me since it disturbed publishers weekly.' Awesome. Thanks

  4. Randi, me too. We love the cross-genre books and movies, don't we. But then again that's why the movie Aliens was panned by the critics when it first came out. Those were sci fi critics, but the movie was a horror movie in space. Sigh. How's Colorado treating you?

  5. Yeah, it's really not as acceptable to buck convention as we pretend it is. Folks say they're looking for something "unique" and "different" but not too unique and different. LOL

    Colorado is cold! Otherwise, it's nice enough. The kids like it. But then, they liked Arizona too. ;)