- File Size: 3278 KB
- Print Length: 17 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Pricks Like Thorn Media (July 20, 2019)
- Publication Date: July 20, 2019
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07VBWPWDG
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,358,010 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
One Star: A Short Horror Story Kindle Edition
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For more free fiction, including the critically acclaimed story "The Lines," and the first book in THE CREATION SERIES, join Behrg's newsletter at TheBehrg.com for infrequent updates and a first look at upcoming releases. Your dopamine levels will thank you.
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As both an author and a reviewer, I wear a few different hats that don’t always sit well with others. I’ve written reviews that have upset other authors, as well as other readers, and hell, probably even other reviewer. I fondly recall one e-mail I received from a reader who excoriated me for daring to enjoy Joe Hill’s The Fireman, insisting that the publisher or Hill himself must have paid me off to post a positive review. In another instance, I reviewed a sci-fi book that included a fictional yet openly obvious depiction of Donald Trump. Readers of that site were so incensed by my positive review of a work very much critical of their Dear Leader that they succeeded in getting my review pulled. And, I can say with little doubt at all, I’ve written various books, novellas, and short stories that have been absolutely loathed by some readers (although, fortunately, the public record indicates my fiction has been enjoyed more often than not).
I’ve also been privy to some of the drama that exists within, and sometimes between, the book reviewing and author communities. There have been far too many stories of crazy authors stalking reviewers who deigned to one-star their books and failed to recognize their unbridled genius, or whose loved ones have taken it upon themselves to verbally assault reviewers for not enjoying dear one’s latest story. And rather than focusing on criticizing the work itself, there have been reviewers who have attacked authors openly and directly, or who get some perverse joy out of tagging authors in all their social media accounts to share negative reviews with them. I’ve seen authors claim some horror book reviewers aren’t real horror fans because they don’t want to read about child murder and rape. I’ve seen other authors preach that their fellow authors shouldn’t ever negatively review books for various reasons. I’ve worked for review outlets who didn’t want to post negative reviews and certainly wouldn’t pay for them, and I know several reviewers who will only post positive reviews because they quit books they don’t enjoy. Some of these are fair to some, and abhorrent to others. Opinions differ and your mileage may vary.
There exists a certain tension between authors and reviewers. It’s a symbiotic relationship that can turn deadly parasitic at the drop of a hat. Authors need reviewers, regardless of how much some writer may suggest otherwise. Reviews are the lifeblood of authors, and we live and die on word of mouth — but hopefully not literally. Reviewers, of course, need books, sometimes like they need air. Books exist as common ground, that passion for literature bridging those two groups in the face of other hot topics like politics or religion. We might not all agree on much, but we can agree that books are pretty awesome and give our lives meaning and dimension.
All this is to say, I get what The Behrg is going for here. He tells a quick, punchy story that moves quick and makes its point in rapid-fire fashion before closing out. We get to know a good bit about Li, the reviewer, as well as her motivations for becoming a blogger, which is easily one of the more fascinating aspects of the story. Sadly, the premise is sufficiently realistic — the idea that a depressed author might kill themselves over a poor review doesn’t strike me as unrealistic or improbable, or that a blogger would feel guilt in the aftermath and hang up their reviewing cred in response.
There’s not a single note in One Star that rings false to me, in either what we know about Li or Creed, and the specters that haunt them. The Behrg hits these notes with aplomb, as well as lived experience. Like me, The Behrg is both an author and an avid reviewer (in fact, he’s even positively reviewed a few of my works, although that has no bearing on my enjoyment of this story and does not influence this review), and I appreciate the honesty he brings to his reviews. In his afterword, he notes that we review in the hopes that it will help us connect to others, and to help them connect with the things we enjoy. We won’t always agree on what piece of art is good or bad, but “it opens something to them they wouldn’t have discovered without you.” It’s OK to disagree, but “The important thing is to have those conversations — spread your love of fiction, of horror, of the strange — because someone out there may just discover their new favorite author of something YOU share.”
That’s why we review. (I can assure you, it’s certainly not to get rich.)
Over the course of its brief page count, One Shot manages to raise a few important questions about mental health, responsibility, honesty, and the connections that exists between readers, writers, and reviewers, deliberately or otherwise. It’s an ode to reviewers and to the importance of reviews, but beyond that it’s a pretty compelling story in its own right. It even sticks the landing in a pretty damn satisfying way, raising an issue I hadn’t previously given much thought to but that will likely be at the forefront of my mind here on in.
One Shot is available for free, but will also be included in The Behrg’s forthcoming short story collection, The Passengers You Cannot See. Keep an eye out for that one soon.
This is definitely a horror story that goes in an unexpected direction. I did enjoy this short story and it is definitely not a one star review! I have no fear of the author’s reaction to my review of his short story.
This short story that I read within 30 minutes; I have read it twice now. It is a part of The Behrg’s upcoming short story collection The Passengers You Cannot See. I enjoy short stories and have enjoyed One Star and also Happiness is a Commodity (my review is here) so I am looking forward to this upcoming collection. I even downloaded Stillborn, another of The Behrg’s short stories to read as it was free on Amazon. That one looks to tackle a difficult subject that I hope to read relatively soon.
One Star is recommended, and if you are a book blogger/ book reviewer, I say definitely read it!!
Li sits at her laptop, composing her latest blog post in the aftermath of the online suicide of a horror writer who couldn’t handle the 1-star review of his latest book. She is trying to convey regret without accepting responsibility but is haunted by the man’s face...
I give very few 1-star reviews - only one in the last year - and that one definitely deserved it. I still felt a bit guilty about it though. I do also worry about the potential for blowback from authors who can’t handle criticism. I would be devastated if I experienced what happens to Li. Fortunately no need to worry here - I thought this was brilliant, and have signed up to the author’s newsletter as while I don’t read much horror, I do enjoy twisted stories like this.
Do yourself a favour and download this while it’s free - it’s a five minute read - and make sure you leave a review!
ONE STAR is a shocking and thought provoking read...in more ways than ONE.
Just a few words.....
Li is a book reviewer/blogger who posted a ONE STAR book review that catastrophically impacted an author's life causing Li herself a great deal of stress and attention over the tragedy. You won't believe how it affected her......
Only 17 pages, and a freebie that had me shaking my head and wanting more from THE BEHRG! What a clever and creative twist!
DON'T MISS this one or the Author's Notes!
Top international reviews
Li is busy blogging and expanding on her last one-star review which apparently tipped the author over the edge enough for them to commit suicide live on social media.
All very gruesome. Li is not writing an apology so much as beautifying the art and meaning of a well-crafted book review its record of how at a certain moment in your life a group of words comprising the novel made you feel. Quickly admitting that the process although critical at times never is a personal attack on the person of the writer. Indeed, it can often be seen what some didn't rate others praise and from experience Li had been attracted to authors by critical reviews she herself didn't agree with subsequently. Furthermore, a writer may learn from honest feedback how to adapt and grow in their craft.
It is full of twists and reveals which the author of this piece says in his afterword was an organic process. He also expands why it is important for books to have readers who feel comfortable in writing reviews.
However, he does his work not in his reasoning in his Author's Note but in this engaging short story of a blogger whose One Star review was ill-timed and the final straw to cause an author to kill themselves. It is a story and shows the power of fiction to say more than just a summary at the end. I was engaged throughout and as a book reviewer would like to say as, yet I have never just awarded one star. If I'm honest I always strive to find sufficient merit to scrap at least two stars.
No problem here - a well-deserved four stars. Better news yet this story is part of a new collection due out shortly "The Passengers You Cannot See". Can't wait!
Of interest in it's subject matter of blogging and book reviews and the fall out from the consequences of a harsh one star review. Topical in respect of fake news and media manipulation, albeit on a much smaller level.
Also gives me pause for thought when I think of the casual disregard for the feelings of others with internet trolls and the tendency to be cruel rather than kind, derisive and mocking instead of supportive.
Not especially "horror" genre content. I enjoyed the story and where the author took us. There's a decent build-up and pay-off
4 from 5
Read - January, 2020
Published - 2019
Page count - 17
Source - purchased copy (albeit FREE)
Format - kindle
Li is the blogger at Modern Maiden of Horror and after a recent tragedy, she is writing her last blog post.
William Han, a horror writer who writes under the pseudonym Jaxon Creed recently committed suicide. Streaming his death live on Facebook. The video spread like wildfire before being pulled from all social media sites. But, it is known throughout the blogging community and beyond that in his video, Jaxon Creed lays, at least part of the blame for his death at the feet of Li and her one-star review of his latest book, Lost Roll of Film.
Even though Li’s review isn’t the only reason for the suicide, it played a part, it was the tipping point, pushing someone who had been standing on the brink, on the edge finally over.
Everything that you write is out there, be it a review for a book or the book itself ready and waiting to be read and critiqued by the masses. Positive, negative, middling, you don’t know the response that you will get. The only thing for certain, your words, your creation, part of your heart, part of your soul are visible for all to see.
Reading is a personal experience and it is subjective. This is mentioned in both One Star by Li and in the author’s afterword (which is fascinating) by The Behrg and it is true. Our experiences, our life, our losses, our opinions and our views all cloud how we see things and what we take from them.
Li had loved Creed’s previous book, Brick by Brick but Lost Roll of Film just didn’t work for her. Her review of Lost Roll of Film was constructive, there was no hate towards the author, no melodramatic bashing of the book and she simply focused on what worked and what didn’t work for her in the book. There was nothing included in the review that should have pushed Creed over the edge, only her own honest opinion.
However, you don’t know what is going on with someone behind the screen and in real-life. The words you write have power, they can impact on others, they can lift someone up or, they can bring someone crashing down. Li’s words, with no malice intended, were the catalyst that brought Creed crashing down.
The toll that Creed’s suicide has had on Li, lingers, haunting her and that is why she is walking away from her blog and is writing her blogging goodbye.
With One Star The Behrg has written a cunning, concise and complete story, smart and succinct with a brilliant and unexpected ending. The writing flows well, there’s dark imagery, poetic sentences, plenty of emotion and the story features a shocking twist that is totally surprising and expertly implemented.
One Star is a little slice of sinister storytelling, a relevant story that is both thrilling and darkly entertaining.
Firstly, I had to read it twice because it was one of those books. It was also very short, only 17 pages. But, OH MY DAYS, what a clever bloke you are Mr Behrg!
I’m not going to give anything away on the synopsis, you can get the full lowdown over on Goodreads.
What I will say though is this;
If you’re a book blogger, reviewer, dark horror fan who doesn’t get too triggered by stuff, ‘ave a gander at this one.
To say this is a unique story is an UNDERSTATEMENT. I’ve never read anything like it. It is the most relevant read a book blogger will ever come across. I’ll tell you that now. It was a clever, thought provoking head mash which I awarded four stars.
When I finished it, I had to have a very large gin. And then I had to have another very large gin after the first large gin. Honestly. Thank god for gin.
I’ll finish by saying that I’m excited to read more from this author. I’m a big fan of horror, not usually short stories, but I’ve subscribed to The Behrg and have received three more shorts which I look forward to reading. He has an unusual voice in horror, and it’s definitely caught my attention.
As a book loving community here on Goodreads, we each create a platform in order to share our thoughts on various books, but of course, reading is a subjective matter, and our own background, life experiences, or culture can dictate how we view a particular story, but I doubt that any of us would intend to cause distress to an author. However, this is exactly what Li does when she posts a 1 star review for William Han’s ‘Lost Roll of Film’ little realising that it will be the final straw that will push him over the edge!
I can’t really say anything else because this is such a short story, but be assured there’s a neat little twist!
We read the book from the perspective of Li , as she starts writing her final blog post , addressing the fallout of her last blog post , which was a one star review that led to the reviewed author committing suicide .
As a short story , the book has an intriguing plot with a finale that I didn't see coming , but where this book really works in , is it's commentary on the subjecting nature of readers , and how one should never be afraid of writing a truthful review, but at the same time make sure that they are being sincere about a person's work and not just trying to put said person down .
As I stated before , as per me , this should be a mandatory read for all reviewers , it's even available for free on the author's website and on Amazon , so get your copy , spend about half an hour and read this beautiful work . And hopefully you will like it
This has been a completely unexpected story! Short but concise. Just when I got to terms with what Li was writing and experiencing, a huge turn and macabre twist appears! Lol. I loved it! To what lengths will an author go, how reviews affect the authors and emotional upheavals is the storyline. I’m looking forward to reading the soon to release anthology by The Behrg!
I've read a few of The Behrg's books, and this is the quickest and probably the best so far. It turned out to be more thought-provoking than I expected. Knowing a number of people who struggle with mental health issues, and having a couple issues myself, I related to the idea that one tiny (for some) little thing like a review could push someone over the edge. As such, and as an editor, I am very aware of the blood (figurative, I hope), sweat and tears (quite possibly literally) goes into writing a story and baring your soul by putting it out into the public domain. Bravo to all the authors, poets and other artists who have the guts to do this, and also bravo to all the reviewers who can be honest enough to tell the truth about what they've read, in an attempt to further develop the writer's craft. We need more of that inn this world.
Enough social commentary - back to the book. The twist at the end of this little gem will make you smile and shake your head. Loved it!
And what a great way to show a passion for books.
The explanation for “experiencing” a reading is absolutely terrific.
I enjoyed the author’s note as well.
But I wanted more! This is way too short!