Archive for the ‘John Scalzi’ Category
published in print in 2017, audible version in 2016
where I got it: received advanced reading copy from the publisher (Thanks Subterranean!)
.Wow was this a fun little novella!
The story is nearly all dialog, and while I was reading I kept thinking to myself “All this banter and chatter, this would make a fantastic audio book!”. I hopped online, wondering if there were any reviews up yet of this novella to learn that I live under a rock.
Last year, Scalzi wrote The Dispatcher as an audio only novella, to be exclusively offered on Audible.com for a certain length of time. And Zachary Quinto narrates it! As a huge thank you to his fans and everyone who loves audible, the download was free for a short window. So, I am apparently the last person to know that Scalzi wrote a very fun little novella called The Dispatcher. I’m ok with this.
I recently reviewed Mira Grant’s Last Girls, and my experience with Scalzi has been similar to my experience reading Grant/McGuire: I’m mostly meh on their novel length works, but I usually enjoy their short fiction.
The Dispatcher is just over 120 pages, but feels much shorter since it is nearly all dialog. The gist of the story is that people aren’t really dying anymore. Sure, you can die from old age, or from driving drunk and wrapping your car around a tree, but if someone else intentionally kills you, you’ll wake up a few hours later at home, as good as new.
No one quite understands how or why this is happening, but 999 times out a thousand, it works. What about people who are on the edge of death? They’ve been brought to the emergency room after a terrible car accident, or they had a surgery that had horrible complications? This is where professional dispatchers come in. If you’re about to die, a dispatcher shoots you in the head, intentionally causing your death. About five minutes later, you wake up good as new, at home. About five minutes after that, the dispatcher cashes their check from your health insurance company. It sounds ridiculous, but it works, and it makes for an increasingly fun little story.
published Dec 31, 2016
where I got it: received review copy from the publisher (Thanks Subterranean!)
Wanna know the balm for doorstopper books and series that don’t have an end in sight? Super short stories that are super satisfying. Stories that get in, make a point and maybe make you laugh, and get out. It’s like those delicious bite-sized Milky Way mini candy bars that (the best) people give out at Halloween.
Miniatures is John Scalzi’s new collection of very short stories. Inspired by everything from travel boredom, the bureaucracy of superhero management, overly intelligent yogurt, a very bitter Pluto, the design limitations of twitter, people being idiots, how to be polite to aliens, having some fun at Wil Wheaton’s expense and more, these mostly humorous and mostly ultra short stories are the bite sized milky way minis of spec fiction. Covering 25 years of Scalzi’s long career in journalism, review writing, and fiction, this collection is a must-have for Scalzi fans. Oh, you’re not familiar with John Scalzi, but you like to laugh? You’ll like this too!
A handful of the stories deal with interactions with aliens, but these aren’t “first contact” stories, not by a long shot. These are millionth contact stories, when interactions with aliens have become as commonplace as seeing a stick-figure family sticker on the back of a mini-van. Two of my favorite stories in the collection are of this variety – “New Directives for Employee-Manxtse Interactions” and “Important Holidays on Gronghu”. Both are presented as company wide memos, and both of these companies are about to be holding massive open interviews. I’ve read “Important Holidays on Gronghu” probably four times and it gets funnier every time.
where I got it: purchased new
A near future scifi thriller, Lock In has an engrossing and compelling start. I really loved the first few chapters of Lock In, really dug the world Scalzi built. Depending on how you look at it, he’s either being sneakishly subtle, or heavyhanded with his observations on how society in general treats anyone who is different from the norm, especially those with disabilities. The novel takes place some 20 years after Haden’s Syndrome has left its mark on humanity. A type of encephalitis, many victims of Haden’s suffer from “lock in”, completely aware and awake, but unable to move or communicate. Thanks to neural technology, people who live their lives locked in (known as Hadens) can remotely use robots, called Threeps, to somewhat experience normal life. Even better, is the option to use an Integrator, a person who will allow a Haden to use their body for a contracted time. For many Hadens, the only people who see their actual, physical bodies are their immediate family members and their home health care aides.
Chris Shane, poster boy for Haden’s and now all grown up, chose a horrible week to start his new job at the FBI. They aren’t quite sure what to do with him, and he’s been partnered with Agent Vann, who loves antagonizing the local cops even more than she enjoys self medicating. So, right off the bat we’ve got some interesting characters. Shane is trying to get out of the shadow of his famous father, Vann has a secretive history she tries to drink away, and they’ve got a really weird murder investigation on their hands.
Congrats! You survived my EpicConFusion posts, as full of geekery, author stalking and horrible photos as they were. (BTW, thanks for all the comments, I am slowly getting to respond to them. too slowly. it’s all twitter’s and my day job’s fault)
But you survived! You deserve a prize!
How about a hard cover Limited Edition of John Scalzi’s The Sagan Diary, with stunning cover art by Bob Eggleton?
here’s the blurb:
Fans of John Scalzi’s “Old Man” universe, prepare yourselves: there’s a long new story in that universe, told from the point of view of one of the series’ most intruiging characters.
Subterranean Press is proud to present The Sagan Diary, a long novelette that for the first time looks at the worlds of the Hugo-nominated Old Man’s War and it’s sequel The Ghost Brigades from the point of view of Lieutenant Jane Sagan, who is a series of diary entries gives her views on some of the events included in the series. . . and sheds new light into some previously unexplored corner. If you thought you knew Jane Sagan before, prepare to be surprised.
If you’re a fan of his Old Man’s War series, you’d probably be interested in this. I’m interested in it too, but as husband and I both received copies, even if I give one away, I’ll still have one to read.
This contest will be open until the evening of Sunday, Jan 29th, Eastern Standard Time. It’s open to anyone living on planet Earth, however if you live outside the US the shipping might take a while.
Sounds great you say? How do I enter, you ask? All you have to do is leave a comment in this post telling me an author you’d love to meet at a convention. The winner will be contacted within a few days after the give away closes.