The Schultzmev Scale

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The Schultzmev Scale is the rating system employed by this blog for book reviews. It takes its name from the Solmev Scale, a fictional scale from the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons, which was a scale used for how earthlike a planet was during the initial human exploration and terraforming period. It is intended to provide quantitative insight into the quality of various critical elements of a science fiction novel.

The Schultzmev Scale is composed of an out-of-ten score on 5 criteria and an overall rating based on the average of the criteria scores.

Criteria and Descriptions

Readability

How enjoyable was this book to read? Was it like pulling toenails (1/10), or did I fly through it like a katana through gently microwaved butter (10/10)? This criterion is based on ease of language and the ability to guide the reader through the story. It also accounts for the frequency of typos, mistakes, and errors. (Oh my!)

Character Depth

How believable, relatable, and credible are the characters? What kind of development do they go through during the book? Do static characters make sense being static? Should they have been dynamic? Do human characters seem human, and alien characters alien (or, where appropriate, also human)? Does every character seem to have all the depth of a wet napkin (1/10), or do their stories and transformations serve as a monument to the human experience (10/10)?

Plot

How intriguing and creative was the plot? Did it take me on a rollercoaster of missed guesses, suspense, emotion, and graceful resolution? Have I read this story a thousand times before, or was it beautifully and singularly unique? Was it predictable, full of loose ends and unnecessary story lines, and/or lacking in areas of climax or denouement (1/10), or was it a cohesive, epic journey through time and space (10/10)? This criterion includes the author’s use of circle-back references to people, places, documents, etc.

World Building

How original and interesting is the universe the book is set in? Are the various elements (planets, names, technologies, species, etc.) tropey and unrealistic, or custom crafted, using concepts from other stories where appropriate, and with a unique twist? Is the world well-described and easy to imagine, left vague and difficult to interpret, or drastically overexposed to the point of detracting from the story? Do I have to constantly flip back through the pages to get my bearings on who’s who and where we are (1/10), or can I easily imagine myself in this world, observing and participating in the story as it unfolds (10/10)? There are bonus points for well-constructed languages.

Structure

How effectively does the author employ style, prose, and format in their writing? Is the story one massive blob of incoherent text (1/10), or is it gorgeously formatted in a way that breaks up the story into easily memorable segments, employing masterful style that makes for quotes that you want to hang on your reading room wall (10/10)? Are meta-elements used effectively in the story, or are they left unresolved, never to be mentioned again in the actual text?

Overall Rating

This is a true average of the scores of the criteria. If any adjustments are made up or down, they will be clearly noted.

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