Richard Saunders's latest update for Journey, A Short Story -  Volume 1

Oct 15, 2015

Greetings Journey supporters. The official release date for the hardcover and eBook is December 1 but everyone who pre-ordered the book will receive it by the middle of November.

I've been giving away advance (paperback) copies at an influential website ( and have seen mixed reviews, so far. Anything above a 3.5 average rating is considered pretty good and 5 star ratings at Goodreads are fairly rare. The book is curently averaging a 3.9 rating (out of five) so that's not bad at all.

At Goodreads, One Star means they did not like it.
Two Stars means if was "just OK".
Three Stars = "I liked it"
Four Stars - "I Really Liked it"
Five Stars - "It was Amazing"

Amazon doesn't allow ratings and reviews until we get close to the release date.

Here is the review I just posted on Goodreads. (It's more like a review of the existing reviews)

Greetings gentle readers, 

I am one of the authors of this book, so I expect you to take my author-bias into consideration here.

As of the time of this writing, 90% of the ratings and reviews have come from those who won a Goodreads Giveaway.

I appreciate all of the reviews & ratings of course, but I am especially attuned to the bad reviews (1 or 2 stars). I expect to learn the most from these and to be able to improve future volumes in this series, based on this valuable feedback. 

Upon analysis of these poor reviews, some things have stood out that I think everyone should be privy to. I’ve noticed a pattern in the bad reviews – it seems that many people enter the Goodreads Giveaway contest not because they are fans of the genre, but mostly because they like to win. I can’t say I blame them, I like to win also.

However, I’m not sure it is in everyone’s interest for someone to review a book in a genre that they don’t like. I see that one of my two star reviews is from a reader who also gave “The Martian” by Andy Weir only two stars. She didn’t like the science in my book or Mr. Weir’s. She didn’t like having to “figure things out”. 

Andy Weir wrote a brilliantly entertaining book, and if someone can’t appreciate that work, they have no chance of liking my book, which is (I hate to admit) not as good.

Another (one star) reviewer scolded me because I obviously didn’t know the meaning of the term “polygenic deviation”. She stated that since I didn’t know the science as good as she did, she stopped reading the book.

This is pretty amusing because I invented the term “polygenic deviation” over 35 years ago. So, at least in this book, it means what I say it means. The book is fiction and takes place in an alternate universe on an “earthlike planet”, so even if I hadn’t coined that term myself, a fiction writer should be able to enjoy some license to play with the language without causing offense or indignation.

Polygenic deviation – Definition from the author:
“A genetic anomaly occurring within a series of genes in two or more chromosomes.”

Still another one star reviewer (an 18 year old) thought that my work was much too difficult to understand. She said it was harder than the philosophy course she recently took in college and according to her; “philosophy is damn hard!”

Once again I was amused – I always thought that graduate level theoretical physics and rocket science were potentially difficult courses. I personally took courses like undergraduate philosophy as electives because I thought they were wicked easy! 

In philosophy, you don’t even have to provide the right answers! All you need to do (to get a good grade) is to have an opinion and intelligently support your opinion. (Try that with calculating rocket trajectories:-)

Anyway, the conclusion I have drawn from examining these poor reviews is that my book is NOT for everyone – but that fact doesn’t make it a “bad” book. Of course I already knew that, but it is good to see the supporting evidence come in from unbiased, honest reviewers and I thank them for that.

For readers who are looking for light escapism in books that are easy-reads, then my book is not going to satisfy that need. 

If you don’t wish to have to think very hard and figure things out, this book is not for you. If your primary genre is romance novels, my book is not for you.

But if you like science-fiction AND historical-fiction; if you like to start out confused and enjoy gradually figuring out what is going on, then this book might be something you will cherish.

I find that gamers, people who are accustomed to complex layers of thought and those who like to solve puzzles seem to be my most fervent fans. 

There is a joy that many of us experience when we undertake a difficult read and eventually reach that aha! moment, when we get it. You can’t experience that joy in a novel where everything is handed to you and explained to you. So if you like to be intellectually challenged, this book might be something you will enjoy.

There are many places in the book where my editors asked me to provide explanations. I declined because I believe that if the reader really wants to know more, they will investigate for themselves. 

For instance, you will come across a brief reference to “Rennes-le-Château, France”. Some readers will immediately understand the reference – others will just gloss over it – and still others will have their curiosity piqued and will Google it for more information. 

Those curiosity seekers are most like me and are probably my core-target audience.

I wish that everyone would love my work, but know that is asking for the impossible. I will have to be satisfied that Some readers will love my work. 

If you took the time to read the book but failed to enjoy it, you have my most sincere apologies for wasting your time as I fully appreciate how valuable your time is.

For those of you who have stayed with this review and are still reading, here’s a little bonus payoff. 

All of the material in the “sneak peek” section of the novel, (which starts in the year 1994) are examples of my “method-writing” technique, which is described in the forward. 

What this means is that (with the exception of the supernatural aspects) all of these pages contain true stories which have been only slightly fictionalized. The Don Breen character is actually Dan Brown – and Daniel Trask really is Donald Trump, etc.

These stories describe my real-life interactions with these famous personalities, while I was “acting out” my great impostor schtick; impersonating the protagonist, Lawrence Howard. 

It is this aspect that separates the book from everything else that has ever been done and is what makes this work groundbreaking – at least in my admittedly biased and perhaps not so humble opinion. 

Still, I realize it is not for everyone. I hope you like it.   

Kind regards,

Richard Saunders