I know post-apocalyptic novels are popular, but honestly… There must be a reasonable limit on how many variations you can do on total disaster and still have anything original to say. Whether it’s the climate apocalypse, the zombie apocalypse, the deadly disease apocalypse, or the alien apocalypse, it’s all been done. And done. And done.
What makes it so much worse when I’m trying to find some interesting new SF to read is the serial factor and the talent factor. There are very few PA novels that require being dragged out into a series. In fact, most of them could be boiled down to novellas or short stories without losing much. Then there’s — let’s call it “talent” even though it’s rare to come across real talent in SF. Or in any other genre. And that’s even more true, I’m afraid, when we’re looking at self-published novels.
Craft? That’s more realistic than talent, even if it doesn’t allow me to find any more books worth reading. More than once, I’ve been tempted to start collecting god awful examples from blurbs that scare me away from attempting the Amazon samples. Grammar? Fuhgedaboudit. Word usage? Sometimes hilarious. More often, horrendous. The worst is eyeball and brain-shattering. The best is, all too often, just adequate. Sometimes, the most complimentary thing I can say about a book is that the author knows the mechanics of writing, and that the book is well-edited. That’s pretty pathetic.