I listened to an interview with Lynn O'Dell on the Dead Robots' Society podcast. Lynn runs the website Red Adept Reviews and commented on her theories around reviewing. One of the points she made was that reviews need to ensure they're not pulling any punches. Effectively, if all the reviews are good from a reviewer, one should suspect those reviews.
I found her comment interesting because I both agree and disagree with her sentiment.
I've been to car dealerships who give me a survey and then tell me I must mark everything as the top grade or this will result in poor performance reviews for either the dealership or those involved in the service. I find these demands ridiculous, and a part of me, that mischievous part, wants to give someone all lowest marks for effectively taking something that was intended to be useful, a survey, and turning it into something that isn't. There should be a difference between my getting an oil change, one that I'm perfectly happy with and one where while they perform the oil change, they realize the engine's running rich and they make a minor tweak, throwing it in for free. The latter deserves top marks, the other one, good service nevertheless, does not.
However, I see no reason for me, someone who's not intending to be a professional critic, to spend time on short stories I didn't like. Instead, I'm going to focus on those I did like and I'm going to try to describe why I liked those stories. The latter is what I think is important. If my description entices, check them out. If it doesn't, well I'll post another rave another week.
(*) Note, I'm pretty sure Lynn O'Dell did not intend to apply her comments on reviewing books to my raves; but it triggered me thinking about it and I wanted to capture my thoughts and would be interested in your comments on this subject as well.
(**) I know there's been a scarcity of raves lately, but never fear, while I've been traveling, I've collected a couple of my favorites for the next couple weeks.