Say howdy to Robert Stanek, the genius who photoshopped himself into a picture with bestselling YA fantasy author Brian Jacques but forgot to include his legs in the pic. This master storyteller of the genre is supposedly huge in literary powerhouse countries such as Vietnam, Chad, Burkina Faso, and Suriname. Other than this resounding commercial success, Stanek's biggest claim to faim was the fact that he got caught posting glowing reviews of his self-published works using countless alternate identities on Amazon, and using those same fake accounts to get negative reviews of his books removed from the site. As David Louis Edelman pointed out, this sleazebucket is known for his tireless deceptive acts of self-promotion.
A pillar of wisdom, Robert Stanek also threatened legal action by forwarding a fake lawsuit to David Langford using a hotmail account. As a Law Grad, I can assure you that the best universities teach us that hotmail accounts are the way to go if you want your practice to be taken seriously. You can read the whole story here.
Anyway, thanks to Adam (Werthead) for bringing this new episode in the Robert Stanek pathetic saga to my attention. Last week, Patrick Rothfuss made a comment on Facebook about the fact that The Name of the Wind had been getting a rash of one-star reviews on amazon.com lately. Then things heated up a bit on the forums with the "Rothfuss is a fraud" thread.
As Adam pointed out:
But what was odd was that all of these one-star reviews were written one after another in a very similar tone by newly-created profiles and all seemed to be making the same, highly questionable, claims that the book was 'objectively bad' and that all of the 500+ positive reviews on Amazon had been written by Pat himself, his friends or family. They ignored the fact that the book has been an international bestseller, is published in multiple languages by reputable publishers, and just continued making questionable claims about the author's moral character. It was very weird. They then tried to get the Rothfuss' Wikipedia page eliminated and also made a very half-hearted effort to level similar complaints against Abercrombie, although I get the impression this was solely to make it look like they weren't just picking on Rothfuss.
All of this smelled like a rat, most notably when one of the reviewers started saying that Pat Rothfuss should go to Iraq to get the 'moral character' that only comes from serving in the armed forces. This was VERY familiar. Then I remembered that the legendary self-published lunatic Robert Stanek kept making a huge fuss about how serving in the armed forces had been an important character-building exercise.
Then today one of the other commentators following the situation on Amazon pointed out that almost all of these suspect reviewers had started 'tagging' Robert Stanek's books (you could see this on their profiles). By the time I checked them out, only three had them left, the rest having apparently removed them when they realised they were rumbled.
Hmm, don't know just how character-building an exercise joining the army turns out to be. But in Stanek's case, it sure didn't do much about his limited intellect, his common sense, and his writing abilities. Though I get the feeling that this failure might be the product of Robert Stanek not being the strongest of lightbulbs instead of being attributed to any shortcoming in the US military training.
Any doubt that lingered sort of got swept away when one of the alternate reviewers began to write negative reviews of Jim C. Hines and David Louis Edelman books. Both authors have written blog entries on Robert Stanek and his self-promotion in the past. You can read the articles here and here.
This whole thing would be a bit disturbing if it wasn't so pathetic. There is no concrete evidence, but everything hints at the fact that Robert Stanek did not particularly enjoy Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind. Fair enough. He's not the only reader who feels that Rothfuss' debut doesn't live up to the hype. But why go through this widespread mug-slinging campaign against an author who's been nothing but a class act ever since his debut was published?
I can understand that a self-published author can feel frustration and resentment when he realizes that his skills are a world away from Rothfuss' own and that he can never, even in his wildest dreams, aspire to ever become this good, or even half as good. Such resentment can understandably engender anger and fury. If that's the case, why not take up yoga or tai chi? With all the money a bestselling author makes, I'm sure Stanek can afford it. And if not, well masturbating more often might help him release some of the pent-up stress. The suppression of such impulses and emotions can't be good, yet this guy obviously needs a more adequate outlet for such feelings of rage than writing false reviews under false names on Amazon.
This is definitely one of the weirdest stories we've encountered in SFF recently. Whoever is responsible for this should acquire a bit of maturity and move on. Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind surpassed Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule and George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones to become the bestselling fantasy debut of all time in hardcover. The books has been translated in I don't know how many languages and sells well everywhere. Rothfuss won a Quill Award, so I don't think anyone can doubt that he has earned his success. To say that the positive reviews and the units sold all came from the author, his family, and his friends is ludicrous.
The fact that someone did not enjoy The Name of the Wind doesn't make Patrick Rothfuss a fraud. Like it or not, this guy is now one of the biggest names in the genre. Be that as it may, if it's any consolation, Stanek is still big in Vietnam. Can Rothfuss claim the same???
Oh man. . .