Michael Martineck’s AWESOME Stray Score

Writer friend Michael Martineck has been working on an awesome website and who to explain it best than himself?

As a species we’ve been ranking books since there were two.  One is always better or worse than the next, but that never told the whole story, so we invented genres.  Cubbyholes into which we can shove titles, twisting, bending or ignoring the fact that a few should be in several places at one time. (An unacceptable state for any bookstore or library.  There’s no quantum Dewey decimal system.) And that leads to StrayScore – a method for rating novels based not on quality or content, but on how far they depart from reality.

Every novel requires suspension of disbelief.  How much marks a difference that transcends genres.  There are novels based firmly in reality. The characters act as one might expect, going about their lives on planet earth, depicted with language you can easily comprehend.  Then there are novels in which multi-phase energy clumps blink light poems in a time and place outside of time/space.  The majority of most novels fall in between.  StrayScore takes the traditional parts of a novel (theme, problem, plot, character, setting, style) and asks you to rank how far from normalcy the author has stretched.  The total of the rankings produces a final score for the book.

And for you.  While most open-minded readers are capable of appreciating anything written well, by scoring novels you hold dear, a personal preference emerges.  When it comes to the novels we love, we all have a score.  Like one of those adjustable air mattresses.  Some of us like novels with a little bit of speculation, whether it be a glimpse of a ghost, the entrenchment of a dystopian society or a murder solved and killer stashed away for life without parole.  Once you know how much disbelief you like to suspend, StrayScore can help you find novels you might love, regardless of their place on the shelves.

StrayScore is about you and novels, and you and novels.  The more people participating, the better it works.  Please visit, sign up, vote on books listed, add books not yet vetted and tell us what you think. As in all things internet, there’s a big fat place for comments.

The genius behind StrayScore

Michael has written for DC Comics, several magazines(fiction and non-fiction) and two novels for young readers.  His novel for adults, Cinco de Mayo, (EDGEScience Fiction and Fantasy) was a finalist for the 2010 Alberta Reader’sChoice Award.  Michael has a degree in English and Economics, but has worked in advertising for several years. He lives with his wife and two children on Grand Island, NY.

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About Anne Michaud

Author of Dark Tendency View all posts by Anne Michaud

4 responses to “Michael Martineck’s AWESOME Stray Score

  • diannewaye

    This sounds really cool. I’ll have to check it out.

  • Marianne Su

    Really interesting concept. I think I prefer books with a lower stray score, with a hint of the weird and wonderful hidden in seemingly normal lives. Good luck with it, Michael.

  • T. James

    Thanks for posting this Anne – it’s always good to try something new, and I wish Michael every success with his idea.

    Something I would like to see though would be one of those radial graphs to show what the more unusual elements of each book were at a glance. then when I know the shape I’m looking for I can get at the type of books I’m into even more easily.

    The scoring system has the most potential – a ‘recommended’ function which matches the different element scores to either an entered ideal, or gets the ideal scores from another book, would be most useful of all. That way I can search for books with a weird plot but with real characters – or whatever my preference is. An intelligent book search based on the scoring system would be most useful to other readers too, I think, but that’s just my two-penneth.

    I hope it catches on…

  • KrysteyBelle

    What a fun concept! Thanks for the article. Ill make sure the check out the website.

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