You might be a sci-fi connoisseur, but can you identify science fiction books from the descriptions of people who truly hated them? See if you can guess the sci-fi book based on its 1-star reviews below!

Bad reviews can be a bit of a sticking point for authors, and understandably so. No one likes to hear unmitigated criticism, no matter how thick-skinned they may be. Besides, reviews are not for authors. Reviews are for readers, librarians, teachers, and booksellers; they are not — and should not be — direct lines of feedback from the reviewer to the author.

That hasn’t stopped some authors from leaning into their bad reviews, however. Gabino Iglesias frequently plugs his 2022 novel, The Devil Takes You Home, based on its 1-star reviews. He also tweets out 1-star reviews of his favorite books, like this one for Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred, which reads: “I didn’t particularly enjoy the book. I found it unnecessarily traumatizing.” Other authors who have leaned into their 1-star reviews include McKenzie Austin (Followed by Fire) and Morgan Daimler (Fairycraft).

So what do you think? Can you guess the sci-fi book based on its 1-star reviews? It’s time to put your book-identifying skills to the test. I’ve picked out the best, most vitriolic, and most laughable bad reviews of 12 titles — including my personal favorite, “[D]ull soup.” — waiting for you below.

A quick warning: be prepared to read a lot about the horrors of “wokeism”.

5 stars against and pink and blue background

Can You Guess The Sci-Fi Book Based On Its 1-Star Reviews?

1. Click Here To Reveal The Book

“I’m probably a lot older than most who read this for the first time which may explain my complete loss at how this could be so well reviewed. The characters are cardboard cutouts and never have any dimension. The main character is treated as a prophet-like, infallible figure from the onset. The writing is full of…narrations about what other characters are thinking as they are interacting with or observing him. All of which is aggrandizing and undeserved.”

“So I ordered the book, but after seeing the movie, I won’t be reading it. The movie was so goofy. Why were there sword fights? They travel all over the universe in spaceships, but apparently no one owns a gun.”

Worst ending of any book I’ve ever read.”

5. Click Here To Reveal The Book

“This book, unbelievably, won a Hugo Award. It is full of made up words and nonsensical phrases, all pushing the idea that there should be (or maybe isn’t) any such thing as gender. It is a terrible story, with a quasi-interesting main character that isn’t really sure what it is. Person or computer. Male or female. Alive or dead. Good or evil. THOSE are appropriate sci-fi themes. The fact is that the narrative is that there is only ‘she’ which appears to be nonsex. Everything else is irrelevant and subordinate to that narrative…If you want to read a woke narrative, this is your book.”

“The most confusing writing I’ve ever encountered.”

[D]ull soup.

6. Click Here To Reveal The Book

“Made it through half a chapter and put the book down when it turned politically woke describing how the well off white scientists use the brown and black people for their agenda…Flipped to the author bio and yup the author is currently studying critical race theory according to her own tagline.”

“Didn’t realize this was a lesbian love book, not what I was looking for.”

“You’ll feel dirty and degraded after reading this thing.”

8. Click Here To Reveal The Book

“I was looking for a fun multidimensional romp in an Ikea clone big box store. Instead I get a love-sick depressed worker who keeps using they and their as a singular pronoun – which kept me out of the story trying to figure out who she was referring too.”

“Please get a translator that KNOWS how to speak English.”

a photo of a calendar with the text "I hope you like calendars that you never understand."

Want to read more bad reviews of good books? Check out these 1-star reviews of classic novels. And if you don’t like star-based ratings, be sure to read Aisling Twomey’s guide to the CAWPILE review system.

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